The oldest standing structure in Ethiopia is located in Yeha; it is a tower built in the
Sabaeanstyle, and dated to either the 8th or 7th century BC. This tower is one of the reasons some believe Yeha was the capital city of the D’mtkingdom. The walls of its early templesurvive, while other ruins include Grat Beal Gebri, with square pillars.
Yeha is also the location of an
Ethiopian Orthodoxmonastery, founded according to tradition by Abba Aftse, one of the Nine Saints. In his account of Ethiopia, Francisco Álvaresmentions visiting this town in 1520(which he called "Abbafaçem"), and provides a description of the ancient tower, the monastery, and the local church, which also has been dated to the time of the Axumite Kingdom. [Francisco Alvarez, "The Prester John of the Indies" translated by C.F. Beckingham and G.W.B. Huntingford (Cambridge: Hakluyt Society, 1961), chapter 35 (pp.140f).] This ancient structure houses a museum.
Yeha has also been the site of a number of archeological excavations, beginning in 1952 by the
Ethiopian Institute of Archeology. Although interrupted during the Dergregime, excavations were resumed in 1993 by a French archeological team.
* [http://www.traveladventures.org/continents/africa/yeha.shtml Pictures of Yeha]
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