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May 2016
Celebrating Eritrea's
25th Independence Day
 
Congratulations Eritrea
Eritrea - May 24 2016 - 25th Independence Day
25th Independence Day
 

 

Kohayto Eritrea June 03 2016 - The tour to Kohayto's archaeological sites

 

At 8 AM sharp I am at the Oasis office, for the 135 kilometer trip to Kohaito Or is it Qohayto or Kohayto? The Tigrinya script allows multiple notations for the same Eritrean names. Kohaito in Saho, one of the ethnic groups in Eritrea, means a place with many stones.  Kohaito was an important staging post on the trade route between Adulis and Axum. At this time both Kohaito and Adulis await confirmation as UNESCO World Sites.

8h15 the car is fueled for the trip to the Ethiopian border. Fifteen minutes later we arrive at the National Museums office to get us the permit that is needed to visit Kohaito's historical sites. We have to wait for half an hour. The official needed for the stamp and signature is late today. A few minutes after 9 AM the permit is finished and we can finally start the trip.

Around Dekemhare the landscape changes. We pass the giant sycamore tree, which is also known as Daaro Hamushte, as it is printed on Eritrea's five Nakfa note. The drive to Adi Keiyh is over a winding asphalt road. The views of majestic mountains and deep valleys make this drive a beautiful one. 10 kilometers after Adi Keiyh we leave the main road to Senafe to follow a dirt road for another 10 kilometers to Kohaito village on a flat plain 2.600 meters above sea level. At the Kohaito mosque we pick up our local guide who will show us the route to the various historical sites.

The road changes into a virtual path where the mountain will allow us to move further with no visible road. It is the roughest road I have ever experienced. But the Oasis company car does not complain, and it has an experienced driver. We reach the edge of a vast canyon (Great Rift Valley) that drops down dramatically. The views are breath taking. Looking south over the canyon one can see the Emba Soira mountain range, and Mount Emba Soira (3000m), which is the highest mountain in Eritrea. "Someone died a few weeks ago when he fell down from the edge" the guide warns. He points to the small settlements in the valley far below, and on the slopes of the mountain range. We enjoy the views for 15 minutes, making pictures.

By car we move to the first (smaller) pre-axumite settlement with its monolitic stelae. There used to be more of these ancient rock columns which served a religious purpose in pre-Christian times, but many have been destroyed by a frustrated Ethiopian army during the 1998-2000 border wars. The archaeological sites are the remainders of the Axumite empire and its trading route to the Red sea.

Next ancient site to visit is an 1000 BC Egyptian tomb where many mummified bodies were discovered in 1905. It is possible to enter the tomb to see the rock carvings. It requires some monkey skills to get in, as there is no stairs.

Next is another Axumite settlement with stelae on top of it. The guide stamps his foot on the ground to prove the subterranean rooms beneath us. He also shows us the ancient brick kiln of the residence, and a more than 2000 year old stone that served as a plate for diner.

Last site to visit is the 2000 year old Axumite Sahira dam from the King Solomon era. The dam is surrounded by stones, which have Ge'ez writings on them. This dam has been the source of water for the village of Kohaito for some ages. There is also Sabean writing in a flat stone found in the middle of the dam.

After our visit to the Kohaito historical sites we return to Asmara. We have a late lunch stop in Adi Keiyh and a Coca Cola stop in the Park Hotel in Dekemhare. At 7PM we arrive at the Oasis office in Asmara.

 

National Museum of Eritrea - Maryam GMBI Street Asmara Eritrea.

National Museum of Eritrea - Maryam GMBI Street Asmara Eritrea.

Big rock with Italian inscriptions - Road to Dekemhare Eritrea.

Big rock with Italian inscriptions - Road to Dekemhare Eritrea.

Big rock with Italian inscriptions - Road to Dekemhare Eritrea.

Big rock with Italian inscriptions - Road to Dekemhare Eritrea.

Daaro Hamushte (giant sycamore tree) - Segeneiti Eritrea.

Daaro Hamushte (giant sycamore tree) - Segeneiti Eritrea.

Landscape - Road to Adi Keih Eritrea.

Landscape - Road to Adi Keih Eritrea.

Adi Keih Technical College - Road to Adi Keih Eritrea.

Adi Keih Technical College - Road to Adi Keih Eritrea.

Distances to nearby villages - road to Kohaito Eritrea.

Distances to nearby villages - road to Kohaito Eritrea.

Qohayto Mosque - Qohayto Eritrea.

Qohayto Mosque - Qohayto Eritrea.

Cliffs & view on Emba Soira mountain range - Kohayto Eritrea.

Cliffs & view on Emba Soira mountain range - Kohayto Eritrea.

Filmon (Oasis tour manager) on the edge of the cliff - Kohaito Eritrea.

Filmon (Oasis tour manager) on the edge of the cliff - Kohaito Eritrea.

Daniel (our Oasis driver) on the edge of the cliff - Qohayto Eritrea.

Daniel (our Oasis driver) on the edge of the cliff - Qohayto Eritrea.

Very rough road to Kohayto archaeological sites - Kohayto Eritrea.

Very rough road to Kohayto archaeological sites - Kohayto Eritrea.

Aksumite ruins and stelae - Kohaito Eritrea.

Aksumite ruins and stelae - Kohaito Eritrea.

Egyptian tomb - Qohayto Eritrea.

Egyptian tomb - Qohayto Eritrea.

Egyptian tomb (inscriptions) - Qohayto Eritrea.

Egyptian tomb (inscriptions) - Kohayto Eritrea.

Stelae and ruins of Axumite residence - Kohaito Eritrea.

Stelae and ruins of Axumite residence - Kohaito Eritrea.

Qohayto guide showing Aksumite dish - Qohayto Eritrea.

Qohayto guide showing Aksumite dish - Qohayto Eritrea.

Axumite kitchen - Kohayto Eritrea.

Axumite kitchen - Kohayto Eritrea.

Aksumite dam - Qohayto Eritrea.

Aksumite dam - Qohayto Eritrea.

Landscape - road to Segeneiti Eritrea.

Landscape - road to Segeneiti Eritrea.

Landscape - road to Segeneiti Eritrea.

Landscape - road to Segeneiti Eritrea.

Landscape - road to Segeneiti Eritrea.

Landscape - road to Segeneiti Eritrea.

Coca cola stop - Park hotel Dekemhare Eritrea.

Coca cola stop (Oasis team) - Park hotel Dekemhare Eritrea

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This tour was prepared and sponsored by:

Oasis Travel & Tour Agency Asmara

Oasis Travel & Tour Agency Asmara.

   

 
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