DEBREDAMO MONASTERY

debradamo monsatery

Many tourists who go to Bahirdar would also take the time to visit Debredamo on their way. Once you visit this historic monastery however you will conclude that visiting Debredamo should be part of your plan and not a trip to have on your way to somewhere else.

Located 10 miles from the main road, you will have to go through a bumpy road on your way to Debredamo Monastery. You will also need a 4 wheel drive vehicle to cross a river.

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But this is just part of the challenge to get to the monastery: you will have to climb a huge cliff by using a rope made of goat skin to reach Debredamo monastery.Unlike churches like Abune Yemata, the climb to the monastery does not pose any threat to visitors: you will be aided by a harness rope from the top to avoid risks of falling.

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Once you have reached the top of the cliff, you will experience one of the unique views of incredible landscape that will leave you speechless. The cliff is so high that you get the impression of being on top of the world.

On top of the cliff you will come accross monks who have been living in seclusion for years. Once you reach the monastery dedicated to Saint Aregawi ( one of the prominent saints in the Ethiopian orthodox church) you will be amazed with the unique structure and architecture of monastery. The construction of the monastery, said to have been completed in the 6th century is made with different kinds of uneven stones. The monks dwelling in the monastery would tell you that construction was made by manually carrying stones up to the cliffs.

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The monastery is home to some of the oldest and unique books of the Ethiopian orthodox church. Some books are as old as 5oo AD. It is also believed that in times where Christianity was under threat, Debredamo is said to have been a temporary abode of the Arc of the convenenant, currently thought to reside in Saint ary Tsion church in Axum.

 

You have to pick the right time and be aware of the monastery's regulation before going to Debredamo. The first thing to consider is the timing of your visit. It is never recommended to Visit debredamo during the rainy season. You will have to cross a shallow river on your way to Debredamo, a river which during the rainy seasons tends to overflow. This could make crossing back complicated with the possibility of being trapped for a while. In a perfectly safe area during the day but with a well known bandit threat at night, you wouldn't want to be trapped near Debreadamo.

The second thing to be aware of is that the monastery maintains its ancient and strict law of being exclusively male. This law goes to such an extent that even animals like sheep which are taken up the hills for consumption purposes are male. If you are a female tourist, you can only go as far as the base of the cliff.

 

Information on how to visit Debredamo

Modes of transportation: The only way to go to Debredamo is by car with the inevevitable climb to the top;

Temperature: average temperature is 25 degree celcius.

What to wear: avoid high hill shoes as they make climbing difficult and tricky.

Guides: recommendable to have a guide who knows the area well

Security risks: Threats are not to worry about as long as you return from the monastery before night fall. Though sporadic, the area has reported cases of bandits problems at night.

Health risks: none

Nearby attractions: Fasil Castle Gondar, Fassil castle, Tana Kirkos

 

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