The sixth century BC, Ethiopia’s historic route begins with a glance at the tantalizing remains of Yeha –the country’s earliest high civilization. In a remote part of Tigray region, Yeha rests several hours drive from the more accessible city of Axum, the journey takes you on rough tracks through dramatic highland scenery and eventually ends in a beautiful and serene agricultural hamlet. It is there, close to a much more recent Christian church, that you may see the towering ruins of Yeha temple of the moon –built than 2,500 years ago, in Sabaen times.
The temple is an imposing rectangular edifice. Thought it has been long since it is lost its roof and upper story, the ruins stand some twelve meters in height. As evening falls, the temple’s finely dressed and polished limestone reflects the glow of the setting sun with warmth and brilliance that cannot be accidental. The huge, precisely fitted block from which the inward –inclining walls are formed seem to the bear out ancient opinion that Sabaean building could be filled with water without a single drop being lost.
Temple of Yeha
It is an important pre-Axumite archaeological site mainly known by the large square temple and dated to 500B.C. The temple was built using stone blocks without mortar, and is supposed to be the oldest building in Ethiopia. The ruins of the temple consist of a single roofless oblong chamber. The remaining one wall of the temple is still standing to a height of 12 meters. Many stone-carved inscriptions were also discovered in and around Yeha. They are most likely the earliest inscriptions that have ever been discovered in Ethiopia.