Published: October 22nd 2008October 10th 2008
Who has the bigger gun?
Some of the machinery outside the war museum in Meckele
The town of Mekele was never really on our "to see" list but it seemed to be a convenient place to do some more R&R. The last few weeks have been a bit hectic for a variety of reasons so we deserved a couple of days off.
When I say couple of days off I mean just staying in one place not doing nothing ;) We visited the rock hewn churches of Tigray just to get another dose of spirituality an fitness. For reasons known only to the builders and believers most of the churches were built on top of mountains and there is never an easy way up. It was never as bad (or good) as in Debre Damo and no goat skin ropes had to be used but it involved a lot of walking uphill, scaling rocks and walking along scary drop offs. To be frank it wasn’t worth for the churches but some of the views we got were stunning. Mekele
is supposed to be the second largest city ion Ethiopia which is hard to believe as it has only 150,000 inhabitants. That’s quite a difference to the 4 million Addis has. It was as so
View from one of the Tigre churches
Always build on top of the highest, least accessible mountain. I know Christians like to suffer for their religion but I couldn’t be bothered to go to mass if I have to climb for more than an hour up a mountain
many cities in Ethiopia the capital for a brief time in the nineteenth century..
In Mekele you will either find the world’s largest gold ball and tee or a Martyr document (have a look at the pic and this will make sense!). That really depends on how you look at it. The area of Tigray was the home of the TPLF (Tigrayan People's Liberation Front) which fought in the 70s and 80 against the then ruling DERG. The Derg were a USSR backed socialist/communist regime and started out with support from the population but that changed after they turned semi evil. The struggle as it is called lasted for 15 years and ended once the Derg lost support from the then crumbling USSR and could no longer hold onto power. Apart from the monument there is also a museum which in way too many pictures shows the daily life of the soldiers and the organization.
Apart from that we enjoyed great pizza and pasta in the towns’ Italian restaurant and had a great night out in an Ethiopian restaurant with traditional music and dance. The restaurant serves what must be the freshest cut beef. Next to the entrance
Camels are used to transport various goods. You often see them laden with Salt which is brought from the Danakil depression which is a couple of hundred km away. takes them a week or two to come to Mekele
and within the restaurant was the butchery. You could watch them carving your meat and in some cases it was brought to the table before it was fried up. Or not fried up if you like Gored Gored which is an Ethiopian specialty and is simple raw beef with some sauces.
The dancing is also rather interesting as it involves mainly moving the upper body and shoulders in a seemingly random but violent way. After a few beers it’s getting more interesting but we were never brave enough to try it. The next chiropractor is miles away…
There are more photos below