Tigrai at Glance
Tigrai, the Northern most of Ethiopia’s federal states, is located between 120 12’ N and 14032’ N l’atitude and between 36030 E and 40030’ E longitude.
The total l’and size of the region is 54,572.61 km2, of which nearly _____% accounts for the land siz’e of the rural areas, while the remaining ______% covers the land size of the urban areas ‘of the region. (2007/8 Census)
The State of’ Tigrai shares common borders with Eritrea in the north, the National Regional State of Afa’r in the east, the National Regional State of Amhara in the south, and the Republic of t’he Sudan in the west.
The topograp’hy of the region is highly plateau with an elevation ranging from 500 meters above see lev’el in the western end (Humera)to 3935 above sea level (masl) at Tsibet Mountains in t’he southern zone of the region. The region is generally a land of plains, vast escarpment, mi’d land plateau, valley bottom, rolling and undulating plains, hilly and steep slopes mountain’ous landscapes. .
The clim’ate in Tigrai is generally tropical, but moderated by altitude. It can be described as healthy and pleasant, similar to the weather in the Mediterranean region. Large parts of the region lie between 1,800 m/6,000 ft and 2,400 m/8,000 ft. Most of the rain falls during the period June and August, but the rainfall is normally modest and allows the visitor to enjoy the endowments in Tigrai. Night-time temperatures may fall to near or below freezing in the mountains, particularly during the dry season.
The region has bimodal rainy season, and the annual average rainfall is between 650-980 millimeters.
The annual maximum and minimum air temperature of the region are 230C and 120 respectively.
The total population of the region at present is estimated to be 4,314,456, out of which the size of the population residing in the urban areas of the region is said to be 19.5% of the total population, while the number of the rural population of the region is estimated to be about 80.5% of the total. (2007/8 census)
Ethnic Composition of the population
Interms of ethnic composition, the region is predominantly inhabited by Tigraian, which consists 94.8% of the total population. Amharas are the largest of the other ethinic groups forming some 2.6% of the population of the region. Eritrean Saho, Agew, Afar, Oromo, and Kunama altogether constitute 2.5% of the population of the region (each of these ethinic groups have more than 1000 population).
Tigringa is the official working language of the region. Sahonga and Kunaminga are also spoken by the respective communities. English is a principal medium of instruction in secondary schools and higher institutions. It is also widely used in business transactions, particularly in banking and insurance firms.
83% of the population earns its life from subsistence agriculture.
The main religions in Ti’grai are Christianity and Islam.
‘There are admission fees to most historical sites ranging from 50 to 120 Birr.
Tigrai hosts one international airport in Mekelle and two modern airports in Axum and ‘Humera.
An excellent, mostly asphalted and scenic road network in Tigrai allows the more experienced resident visitor and chauffeur to travel by car to enjoy winding mountain roads along beautiful and extraordinary mountainous landscapes with hidden endowments, flora and birdlife for which the Tigrai region is renowned. Above all, travelling in Tigrai by car is safe and secure – people in Tigrai are well known for their friendliness and hospitality.
Tigrai: The Cradle of Ethiopian Civilization
Tigrai, the most northern state of Ethiopia, has been home through the millennia to successive waves of civilization. Each has left its own monuments, marking their presence in the ever – changing landscape. Pagan temples, elaborate palaces, great stone stelae, rich tombs and early churches and mosque stand as testimony to the ebb and flow of humanity in the region. They are set against an extraordinary biblical landscape in which the life led by the people has much that is timeless inviting tourists from around the world, pleasantly mild climate with beautiful and welcoming people.
The first stirrings of civilization in Ethiopia are most vividly evoked by the great Temple of the Moon at Yeha, the most tangible embodiment of the kingdom of Da’amat, which probably dates back as far as the 8th century BC and which, at its height, encompassed the territory of both modern Tigrai and Eritrea in the Ethiopian highlands. The site of Axum also reveals monuments attesting to very early engineering feats, architectural skills and techniques. During its time as a major world power, the Axumit Empire maintained trade relations with India, Ceylon, South Arabia and the eastern provine of the Roman Empire (Including Syria, Palestine and Egypt). Many other archaeological finds such as Hawlti, Menebeiti, Hinzat, Addi-Akawuh, and Sekera also add witness to the long history of the region.
Tigrai, among the early places to receive Christianity, is believed to have possessed the most precious object, the Ark of the Covenant of God. It is also noted for embracing Islam much earlier.
Tigrai, which still yields history, has over 120 centuries rock - hewn churches. Most of them are scattered among the mountainous region of Tigrai, such as Gheralta, Tembien, Hawzien, Tsaeda Imba, Wukro and Atsbi. The sanctuaries with their artful architectural designs, exciting wall paintings, remarkable locations and immeasurable treasures are clustered around.
T’he chained mountains and breathtaking landscapes of Adwa, Gheralta, Ambalage, Tsibet, Girakahsu, and other similar ones are an appealing experience only contested by the dream like impression of a world class artist. In line with this the people’s traditional songs, dances, religious ceremony, rituals and life style of indigenous peoples are also priceless ass’ets of the region.
‘A visit to this region will ensure a spectacular journey through the long and impressive history and its many recent achievements.’