Mek'ele

Beautiful city, full of history.

Mek'ele

Mek'ele (መቐለ), is a special zone and capital of the Tigray Region of Ethiopia. It is located around 780 KM (480 mi) north of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, with an elevation of 2,254 metres (7,395 ft) above sea level. Administratively, Mekelle is considered a Special Zone, which is divided into seven sub-cities. It is the economic, cultural, and political hub of northern Ethiopia.

Early History

Having started life as a 13th century hamlet called Enda Meseqel, the settlement attracted a steady stream of settlers, slowly becoming one of the key stops along the trade routes to neighbouring kingdoms and principalities.

As its population and importance grew, so did its status in the eyes of Ethiopia’s ruling elite, and by the late 1800s the town was home to the region’s biggest administrative and religious buildings, the Grand Palace and Debre Gennet Medhane Alem.

Places to visit

Emperor Yohannes IV Palace

Atse Yohannes IV’s Palace

Mekele is the seat of a historical palace called Atse Yohannes IV Palace named after the famous King who ruled Ethiopia from 1872-1889. Emperor Yohannes chose Mekelle as the seat of his government and built his graceful palace, still intact, in 1870s. The palace now serves as a museum. The Emperor’s throne, royal bed, ceremonial dress, rifles and many other valuable historical collections can be seen in the museum and the fantastic throne of Atse Yohannnes IV made by the Italian engineer Giacomo Nareri in 1874 is the eye catching centerpiece of the museum.

Derg Memorial

Another memorial monument was built in honour of the martyrs who sacrificed everything for the freedom of their country. During the last century, Ethiopia was in the grips of the tyrannical Derg regime, which held power from 1974 to 1987. The monument stands at 51 metres tall, and is located in the sub city of Adi-Haki. 

Along the bottom of the monument, the struggles of those who stood in defiance can be seen, eternally carved into the grey stone sculpture, so no one will forget the bloodshed and carnage caused in the name of freedom. In total, 60,000 lives were tragically lost in the bloody civil war, with countless more injured. 

Popular Food and Festival

Tihlo

Tihlo (Tigrinya: ቲህሎ) is a dish from the historical Agame province in Tigray that consists of barley dough balls covered with meat and berbere based sauce often served as a snack. Tihlo is commonly consumed as a side dish or snack, especially in Tigrayan communities.

Ashenda

Ashenda (Tigrinya: ኣሸንዳ) is an annual festival celebrated in Tigray. It's festival celebrated in August. Ashenda is a major event for Tigray people all over the world, particularly Tigrayan women, Tigrayan women and girls as young as 7 await for this Girls' Day festival all year.

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