the monastery of Gunda gundo


The monastery of Gunda Gundo is one of the oldest and most famous monasteries of Ethiopia. It was founded by Stephanites in the 14th century. It has maintained ecumenical traditions and maintains good relations with Muslims

who inhabit the nearby lowlands as well as with the Catholic center in Adigrat. Its immense church is one of the largest ancient buildings in northern Ethiopia. Gunda Gundo has a large library of rare manuscripts, including famous Gospels with distinctive illuminations in what is known to art historians as "Gunda Gundo style". In earlier years it is believed to have had a scriptorium which supplied manuscripts to other churches and monasteries. Among historic objects in their church, priests show a large bed that belonged to Sebagadis.

To reach the monastery, follow the signpost at the north side of Edaga Hamus. Continue 24Km along the road suitable for 4 WD vehicle to north east of Edaga Hamus that leads to Geblen, a village situated on the edge of the escarpment. From this location walk roughly 4-5 hours along a steep track that drops into a gorge below and continue its sunken path to the isolated historic site. The landscape on the way to the monastery is very spectacular. This two day trip is more than worth it if you like history, wild life and beautiful landscapes. However, it must be advised that female visitors are not allowed inside the main church.