Tiya Stele and Adadi Mariam

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A tour to Adadi Mariam and Tiya takes one full day, leaving from Addis Ababa at 8:00, driving on Butajira road, southwestern direction. After 55 km we drive 12 km on the rough road to the village of Adadi to see the church. Then we return to the main road and drive further 25 km to the village of Tiya. After lunch in Tiya we visit the stele and return to Addis Ababa in the afternoon.

Adadi Mariam is the southernmost rock-hewn church in Ethiopia. It lies to the west of Butajira road on a small hill some five minutes walk from the village of Adadi. Scholars date this church some time between 12th and 13th centuries, while the local tradition associates it with king Lalibela’s visit to the nearby Mount Zuquala in AD1206. Adadi Mariam is far close in style to its counterparts at Lalibela than to any rock-hewn church of Tigray.

Recent excavations at Tiya revealed that the stones mark the mass graves of males and females, who died when they were between 18 and 30 years of age, and who were laid in a foetal position. This site is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

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