• English
  • Español

Dobre Damo Monastery

The Chains to Heaven

It is located on a plateau Perched 11km north of the Axum- Adigrat zigzagging road, along a turn off sign posted 6km west of the small town of Bizet. Debre Damo thought to date back 6th century is best known for its rigorous religious teachings, monastic life, and wealth of manuscripts. The flat- topped “Imba” (plateau) measures about 1000 meters from northeast to southwest and 500 meters from northwest to southeast.

The miraculous monastic-church perched atop sheer sided cliff, is only accessed by a 15 meter long plaited leather rope extending down from the crown.

The edifice, rectangular in plan, is made up of stone alternated by protruding rounded wood. The ceiling is well decorated with wooden panels in which wild animals and mythological figures are incised. In brief its architectural style which recalls Axumite design rewards an effort exerted on dizzy ascent.

Visiting the monastery emotionally takes you back to the distant past of Ethiopian religious life, or as professor Richard Pankurst rightly concludes, “ It takes today’s traveler into a past age and leaves him with a deeper understanding of Ethiopia’s age – old and unique civilization than mere words can give”.

However, and as in Gunda Gundo female travellers are unfortunately not allowed in the churches.

Dobre Damo Monastery

For more information or for help in hiring a car ask at reception.