Version classiqueVersion mobile

Bulletin de la Maison des études éthiopiennes | Novembre 1993. N°3

Jacques Bureau

Ancient Churches in Tchaqata

Ancient Churches and Monastries in Tchaqata (Wällo)

Dämäqä Adänä
Traduction de Tafari Abate

Texte intégral

History of Zägasetcha Abba Giyorgis Monastery

1This monastery is found in South Wällo region, Boräna Awraja, Kälala Wäräda, 052 Gasetcha Qäbälé peasant association. It is about 14 km far from Wägeddi, capital of the neighboring Däbräsina Wäräda. To reach this monastery from Wägeddi takes more than a 6 hours journey. One has to sweat a lot, and courageously cross many ups and downs through difficult thorny trees.

2The monastery is located on a very attractive, admirable and astonishing highland, amidst the desert plain, carved from white cliff. The only way up to the monastery is a narrow natural path found on the western side of the cliff. The 90 meters long narrow path up to the monastery is on stairs and wooden ladder. Half of this path (about 45 m long) is particularly on a steep ladder. The gate at the top end of the ladder is closed with a door. The door is always locked throughout the night. The path after the door is too narrow for two persons to pass through at once. There is a 30 m long steep cliff on the left side of this narrow path.

3One reaches the plain of the monastery (top of the highland) after the 90 m high stairs and wooden ladder.

4As one proceeds north-ward on the top of the plain, he will first see a small rectangular tukul on the right side. This tukul serves as a watch-post for the guards of the monastery. After a few minutes’ walk, one could see independent fenced residence houses (of monks and students) and a big grass-roofed guest house built by the collective effort of the surrounding people. The flat part of the monastery (the top of the highland) is estimated to be about 1/2 of a gasha (20 hectares). Looking down (to the surrounding lowland) from top of the highland could be thought of like looking at the ground from a plane flying at a medium height. After a few minute walk, through beautiful trees and flowers, to the east of the guest house, we find the surprising monastery.

5The monastery is (rock hewn) carved from cliff and cave. It has two gates; one for males and another one for females. The first room of the monastery has 2 pillars and 3 sitting stairs carved from stone. Nicely drawn pictures of Abba Giyorgis and St. Marry are hanged up in the room.

6The first room of the monastery is used for Qené and Mahlét. This room has 3 gates, with wood doors, leading to the inner room. The door of the left gate is 1.5 m high, 0.75 m wide and 5 cm thick. It is unique from all the other doors. Although not supported by written documents, the guide monk mentioned that there is a legend which says that the door is unique because it came from Jerusalem through the miracle of Saints during the foundation of the church.

The Room of the Holy

7This is the second room of the building. It is bigger than the Qené and Mahlét room. Like the first room, however, it has only two stones pillars. The room has two backside gates with doors; light enters through those doors. When you leave the room through those gates, you find plenty of praying caves with various shapes and size (at the backside of the building). One of the praying rooms is unique to the observer. It has a little stair and a nicely designed seat for one man. They (the guide monks) said that this unique cave was the writing room of Abba Giyorgis who constructed this underground building. At present, this cave serves as a praying place just like all the other caves.

8Next to the little writing cave of Abba Giyorgis, you find another cave with a door. This cave is used for Bétälehém (sacristy) service. On the left side of the Bétälehém cave, we saw many caves closed with stone. The guide monk explained that they are grave yards of monks who lost their lives while serving the monastery.

9Entering the room of the Holy, again through back doors, we saw a nicely shaped marble object used for putting candle and twaf (locally made thin candles usually used in churches under one of the pillars). The color of that marble object speaks that it has served for many years.

10There is a two columns hewed shelf on the western side wall of this room. We saw plenty of books on it. We were told that the shelf was originally used as a grave for monks.

11Standing inside the room of the holy, we saw a beautiful curtain. Uncovering the curtain, we saw three rocks hewn gates leading to the third room of the building.

The sacred room (Qeddasé)

12The qeddasé room is the last, but by far the largest section of the building. It has only one pillar. The tselat (tabot) of Abba Giyorgis is found in this room. On the south western corner of the wall, at a height of about 8 m, there is a window shaped uncovered place. Its interior looks like a small circle. Using a ladder, the monks used to put the precious treasures of the monastery up inside that circle. Under the small circle, a big tough looking material made up of wood and stone is attached to the ground. We came to realize that this material, with its upper cover, was originally meant for the skeleton of monks. Since the skeleton is buried in another cave, the tough looking material is idle at present.

13The monastery of Abba Giyorgis is an ancient one. At present, celibate priests, monks and deacons celebrate the mass there. The monastery is celebrated twice a year: on the 7th (Sellasé) of Hamlé (July 14th) and the 3rd (Bata) of Hedar (November 13th). Many people from different areas come to celebrate Abba Giyorgis on these days. The building of the monastery is maintained in good condition. It is nicely painted with a very attractive locally available. It is nicely painted with a very attractive locally available lime stone. This ancient building with its white paint speaks that is has an owner (someone responsible for it).

The amba of the Monastery

14We observe many things on the amba (the flat top of the highland) where the monastery is located. Among other things, there are 5 water wells which are still serving. One of them is a 4 m deep and 20 m wide circle with the shape of a “lake”. All are full of water. The water looks green (dirty) in the wells. When you put it inside a glass, however, it looks clean. This water tastes sweet, and has the power of curing internal diseases. Residents of the monastery have functionally divided the water wells for drinking and cleaning.

15Of all the 5 water wells, we observed that one is very shallow. We were told that Abba Giyorgis left this well unfinished for some unknown reasons. In 1943 Eth.C. (1951), however, a priest by the name Mämher Teumä Lesan tried to dig the well deep. Unfortunately, the water dried slowly.

16The plants growing on the amba (as Ato Dämäqä observed) are qenceb, qälqälsha, qetketa, wäyra, dädäho, gerar (acacia), shenbäqo, bahr-qulqwal, räjem-qulqwal, länkwata, and zädäm. The weather (climate) of the pace is hot and of the country of the vine (wäyna-däga).

17In the past, the monastery used to own 50 gasha agricultural land and plenty of cattle. The income generated from these sources enabled the monastery to have up to 160 monks and deacons. At present, however, the inhabitants of the monastery have decreased to 95 people. Many monks migrated away as the monastery lost the income it used to get from land after the 1975 land reform proclamation. Some of the physically weak inhabitants of the monastery said that they have nothing to eat but some fruits that grow on the amba.

18There is a tin roof stone house on the amba. It is used as a store house for the sacred items and other properties of the monastery. Besides the store house, we saw a black stone which is about 2 m in length and medium in width, lying on two stones. Asking for “the where from” of this stone, we heard the following story.

Local traditions assert that Abba Giyorgis and Abba Tsegé Dengel were contemporaries. When the former built the monastery of Gasetcha Abba Giyorgis on the eastern side of river Wäläqa, the latter also built the monastery of Däbrä Tsegé on the other side of the river (facing his friend’s monastery). Crossing river Wäläqa frequently, these close friends used to visit each other. During kerämt (the rainy season) however, the river becoming an obstacle, none of them were able to cross it.

  • 1 An informant recounted this miracle of the two friends during our visit to the area in December 199 (...)

Each of them, being unable to tolerate his homesickness for the place of the other one, Abba Giyorgis and Abba Tsegé Dengel met at the river. They wished that God would build a bridge on the river. Abba Giyorgis and Abba Tsegé prayed God from the bottom of their heart, and threw a handful of soil to the river from both side. That piece of soil to the river from both side. That piece of soil became a nice bridge by miracle1.

19Once upon a time, Abba Giyorgis on his way back home from the monastery of Abba Tsegé Denge, saw the devil trying to ruin that bridge. Abba Giyorgis suddenly stopped the devil by piercing it with a spear. Abba Giyorgis then ordered the devil to carry a big stone which it tool out of the bridge up to the monastery. The devil carried the stone and started the journey up. At a certain difficult place, however, the stone was suddenly broken when the tired devil tried to get a little pause. Abba Giyorgis again loaded the longest part of the broken stone on the shoulder of the devil. The stone, in this way, reached the place where it is lying at present. This story is documented in books, and in a drawing which we saw inside the monastery. We have also seen the other half of the stone at a place where the devil broke it. The stone is used as a bell upon sanctification, mourning, feasts and other similar occasions. You hear the stone ringing from a far distance (just like a true bell).

20(It is believed that) the amba is encircled by many grave caves. Some of the caves are still mysterious; no one knows the secrets they contain. There are also 3 types of colored soils which serve as a cement.

21The close neighbours of the monastery live in compact, but sparsely located, villages. 99 % of them are muslims. Oromigna is their mother tongue. Agriculture is the main activity of the surrounding people. However, the monastery has to acknowledge its neighbours for their participation in repairing the narrow path, making a guest house, hosting guests and contributing to other social affairs.

Properties and inheritance of the monastery

22The monastery contains important inheritance from the time of Abba Giyorgis. The underground building itself, many parchment books and a brass cross are the major treasure of the monastery. With a slight touch from this brass cross, Abba Giyorgis used to cure the sick and awaken the dead.

23Besides the various clothes and sanctuary objects, the monastery has 2 copper dishes and a silver cross which were donated to it by Queen Zäwditu. This donation was made through a certain Mämher Alämu, the then head of the monastery, who managed to explain the situation of this monastery to the Queen; the dished are used for boiling cereals and cooking meat.

A short biography of Abba Giyorgis

  • 2 The writer uses long sentences.

24The founder of this monastery, Abba Giyorgis, was born in the ancient Hägärä Läkomälza (in the present Wällo region), the present Boräna Awraja (in the ancient Amhara province), Kälala Wäräda, in a place called Shägla. His birth place is between river Bottär (on the east) and Wäläqa (on the west). His father Hezbä Tseyon and his mother Emmenä Tseyon were sterile for a long time. They managed to bear their child Abba Giyorgis after many prayers to God2.

25When he reached the age for school, Abba Giyorgis went to Hayq Estifanos monastery to be taught by Mämher Säräqa Berhan. Abba Giyorgis spent 7 years in this monastery, but was not event able to spell a word in those days. After many efforts and prayers, however, the gate of wisdom opened for him. Hence, Abba Giyorgis managed to write his first book which was dedicated to St. Marry in the monastery of Hayq (Wällo, Ambassäl). The book was entitled Embétatchen Qâddest Dengel Maryam Gänätä Berhan. Thus,

ጠበወ ጊዮርጊስ አምአጥባት ስዕላ ለማርያም ወውኅዘ ሎቱ አምአጥባቲሀ ሀሊበ ዚመንከር ጣዕሙ አጽገበቶ ወአርወየቶ ወይዕተ ሶቤ ተፈስሀ ጊዮርጊስ በመንፈስ ቅዱስ ወደረሰ ላቲ መፅሀፈ ኆኅተ ብርሀን ዘይስመይ

26is written in the book which explains the gädl of Abba Giyorgis. Ethiopian hymn teachers have made a song from this text. And it is the main song priests sing on the 3rd of Teqemt.

27Abba Giyorgis is a famous intellectual who has also written the following books.

282. Mätshafä Argano
3. Enzira Sebhät
4. Hiywätä Maryam
5. Mätshafä Berhan
6. Mätshafä Mestir. This was a summary of the religious secrets in all the 81 books (The Bible version of the Ethiopian orthodox church).
Wedassé Mäsqäl
8. Täämno Qeddusan
9. Book of praise and greetings for prophets, Apostle, Angels and Martyrs.
Tsälotä Fateto (which contains many prayers)

29Among the present priests, it is Mämher Täsfa Wärqnäh who knows the detailed history of Abba Giyorgis. He lives in Addis-Ababa, in the compound of Gänät Yesus Church. He was engaged in publishing religious books. Now he has retired. I strongly recommend this priest as a great help to anyone interested in the history of Abba Giyorgis.


30The maintenance service the surrounding people provide to this ancient monastery is not sufficient. There must be some more efforts to make it long lasting. As material culture, there might be many unexplored secrets which this ancient underground building would transmit to the present and future generations.

31On the other hand, the present monks and deacons of the monastery, in spite of their meager livelihood, are trying to take very good care of the building and other inheritance. They are the real people responsible for the monastery. If their economic situation continues in this way, however, most of them might migrate away. Hence, one has to study in advance how to generate a sustainable income for monks and deacons.

32Ancient heritage attracts tourists, and I should now quote an example to show the contributions of this sector in developing the economy. If the already started road is finished, historians will come to study the place, and if other necessary conditions are fulfilled, many tourists will visit the area. This will in turn improve the lives of the surrounding people in general and of the “fruit eating” monks in particular. Using this monastery as historical evidence, we could also show to the world how old our civilization is.

The church of Yägäzaza Abo

33This church is found in South Wällo region, Boräna Awraja, Däbräsina Wäräda, 018 Kärava Gudana Qäbälé peasant association, in a place called Yägäzaza. It borders with 021 Awäyo Kämäyu Qäbälé peasant association in the east, 017 Abärga Giyorgis in the West, 020 Abbay Gurba in the South, and river Taqät in the North. Located on a mountain slop, this church is very attractive and historical.

34Yägäzaza Abo is about 34 km far from the Wäräda capital Wägeddi. Out of this total distance, one can drive on the 28 km dry weather road. The remaining 6 km will be about an hour walk, since it involves many “ups” and “downs”.

35As one approaches the monastery, he will get two alternative roads to the rock-hewn building. The first road takes you to the west and by-passes the big cave and the surrounding trees which are all used as shelters by the weekly Sunday congregation (sänbät). The second road leads you directly to the top of the mountain, and then descends to the building. You see the “playing cave” (of youngsters) and the “sleeping cave of monks” on the way.

36The gate leading to the building has a door. Before entering the building, one can have a look up at the 250 m high steep cliff. The western half of this steep slope is covered with grass and various plants. It is very attractive to the observer. However, the eastern half of the same cliff has no cover. One observes only the red soil which has continuously being eroded. Below the building of the monastery there is also a long steep cliff. On the narrow path leading to the gate, one feels as if he is to fall into the steep cliff. The fence like lined plants found on the lower side of the path have reduced this fear to some extent.

37Before entering the building, we see a cave, with a wooden fence on the left. Inside that cave is a grinding stone which serves for grinding wheat for the holy ceremonies.

38As you open the door of the main gate, you find stairs, carved out of stones leading down to the underground building. The building has two gates; one with a door, and the other without. You see a bell hanging between these gates.

Mahlét and Qené

39The first room of the building is used for Mahlét (ecclesiastic songs of praise) and Qené (poetry). The room is circular in shape. It has four rectangular shaped stone pillars. Its roof is smooth, just like the roof of a modern cement building. It is very striking to the observer. The wall of the room is decorated with pictures of Saints, lions, oxen, tigers and horses. Different colored soils are used for drawing the pictures. From a stylistic (painting style) point of view, the age of the pictures is estimated to be equal to the age of the building.

40In this room, there is a picture drawn by Aläqa Ayälä on a big canvas. The picture shows Abba Gäbrä Endreyas Mänäkosä Zä-behérä Tchaqata (“monk of the Tchaqata country”) holding many fallen spirits on a rainbow, and Abunä Gäbrä Mänfäs Qeddus Zä-behérä Gäzaza ridding a cock looking like thunder storm. This picture decorates the room. It proves how ancient artists, through their creativity, produced local paints and tried to decorate monasteries and churches with spiritual pictures. This reminds us that the present generation is responsible for creating new items and preserving and transmitting ancient heritage to the future generation. There are also other pictures of saints and angels in this room.

The room of the sanctuary

41This is the second room of the building (next to the Qené and Mahlét). It is used for celebrating the mass. This room is also circular in shape, and has four stone pillars. The tabots of Abo and Mädähané Aläm are both there.

42Upstairs, at the western corner of this room, there is a small gate. One can see a medium size circular cave through that gate. There are plenty of skeletons and two boxes inside the cave. Inside one of the boxes is the skeleton of Märigéta Mängistu, former head priest of the church who died of hunger during the 1984/85 drought. Nobody knows whose skeleton is inside the second box. At present, putting skeletons inside the cave is prohibited. This cave was a room for the sanctuary and for the secret treasure in the past. To see the interior of the cave clearly, one needs to have a bundle of candles or a torch.

43There are two windows like holes at the eastern section of the room. Light comes in through them. There is also a very narrow gate under one of the holes. A man can pass through that gate only being half-erected. Going out through that narrow gate, we find the Bétälehém room (sacristy) hollowed out of cliff as a separate room.

44A wooden cross is fixed on one of the four pillars of the room. There is also a nicely shaped stone seat at the southern corner of this room.

45Like the first one, the roof of this room is smooth. It is decorated with mosaic designs. A cement looking soil is used for smoothing the hollowed out cliff.

Celebrations and recent history of the church

46Originally, the tabot of Mädähané Aläm was the only tabot of the church. At one time in the past, however, Mämher Manyé Gétachäw, the guiding priest for the days, explained that the tabot of Abunä Täklä Haymanot wa brought to be the second tabot.

47The church is celebrated twice a year; on the 5th of Teqemt and Mägabit. People from the surrounding area and distance places come on these celebration days. Many religious associations also conduct monthly and weekly (on Sundays) feasts on the compound of the church. At present, the church has 5 priests and 10 deacons.

48The church is named after “Agäzä Tsähay Nägäday” who was queen of Täta (a place in Godjam). As a short for her name, Yägäzaza gradually became the name of the church.


49Among the precious inheritance of the church are old religions clothes, a piece of Abunä Gäbrä Mänfäs Qeddus’s chronicle (written on parchement), a brass cross, one tsewa (a drinking cup made of clay) and other sacred objects.

The singing cave (of boys and girls)

50This cave is found at the top of the mountain (above the main building). Its architecture is very striking for the observer. It has one gate. The interior of the cave is circular in shape. Both the wall and the roof are rock-hewn. There is a hole at the middle of the circular roof. Light comes through that big hole easily. There are windows hollowed on the western and eastern sections of the wall. The eastern window looks on an unfurnished underground path. The diameter of this room is 8 m.

51On celebration days, girls and boys dance and play in this room. Sitting at the top of the cave, one can have a look at the playing youngsters. In the past, boys used to fight each other about girls as part of the celebrations. These days, however, boys no more bit each other with sticks, for they understand how harmful this practice is.

The monks’ cave

52You find the monk’s cave few meters west of the singing cave. This cave has one gate. Its wall is 6 m long, and circular in shape. The floor is very rough. Its diameter is 7,5 m. The cave has no roof to protect it from the rain. However, the floor never gets wet since the water easily sinks into the unleveled sand.

53At the southern section of this cave, window like places are hollowed in the wall. These are sleeping rooms for the monks. Monks spend the day roaming from village to village in search of food. They cook and spend the night in this cave.

The other grave cave

54This is an independent rock hewn cave for burying, drying and storing the dead. We saw a hip of skeletons inside this cave. If a person dies, he will be buried. After his flesh turns to earth, however, the dry skeleton is taken out and stored inside the cave. The skeleton of every Christian can be stored in this cave.

55The building and caves of Yägäzaza Abo are constructed by Saint Lalibäla. The building has survived devastation by Gragn. It is very difficult to introduce on paper the various parts of the church to someone who has never been there. I started this description only to remind writers that the church deserves special emphasis.

56At present, the only income of the church is the small annual membership fee of the surrounding Christians. Since the church has not enough money to cover maintenance services, the main building is to fall into ruin.

57The building is still used for liturgical services. This has saved this precious building from being a ruin. One has to encourage priests to continue this (using the building).

58The rough dry weather road to the church should be repaired. Since there could be many unexplored historical evidences in this church, researchers should pay due attention to it.

59If the building is repaired and well maintained, it will attract tourists. This will in turn add up to the income of the church.

60Considering the preservation of this ancient and historical building as task of priority, the government and local people have to collect the required objects, and implement the repairing. By doing so, I have the confidence that this generation will fulfill the responsibility of transmitting inheritance delegated to it from our party (the former Worker’s Party of Ethiopia).

The church of Däbrä Kärbé Giyorgis

61The underground building of Däbrä Kärbé Giyorgis is found in south Wällo region, Boräna Awraja, Däbräsina Wäräda, 01 Särto Masaya Qäbälé peasant association, in a place called Däbrä Kärbé.

62The building is very close to Wägeddi, the capital of the Wäräda. One can reach it after a 30 minutes’ walk. The building is found in the middle of a rectangular shaped mountain. Standing at the gate of the building, one will see a dangerous steep cliff covered with various plants below him.

63The building has 3 gates. Like all the other underground buildings, it has rooms for the Qené and Mahlét, the Holly Mass and the benediction. The rooms are not similar in shape and size. The building has 6 stone pillars. The pillars have a unique and striking shape. The third room (the sanctuary) contains skeletons. The other rooms are empty, except for the grass carpet lying on the floor.

A short history (of the church)

  • 3 These Geez phrases seem wrongly spelt in the text. “ወወሀበ ምድረ ለጋሰ” should read ወወሀበ ምድረ ለጋለ (he gave (...)

64This underground church was built by Abunä Yaeqob during the time of Abräha and Atsbäha. Abunä Yaeqob used to teach many students in this church. One day, the teacher heard one of this student reading the phrase “ወወሀበ ምድረ ለጋስ (ለጋላ)” instead of “ወወሀበ ምድረ ለአጓለለ አወሀያው (አመሀያው)3”. Gragn was then in northern Shäwa, devastating many churches. Being stroked by this phrase, Abunä Yaeqob looked at the book which the student was reading. He witnessed “ወወሀበ ምድረ ለጋስ (ለጋላ)” was written clearly and he told his students that the building no more belong to them. God had ordered it to be destroyed. He advised his students to leave the area immediately. As a result, Abba Yaeqob and his students went to Tigray, via Gondar, and settled in a monastery called Atsbidära Selassié. He died there after serving the monastery for many years.

65Gragn had burnt the interior of this building. 330 monks and 3 bishops died while fighting fiercely against Gragn for the sake of their religion.

66This church was totally closed after Gragn. During the time of Menelik II, however, the building was reopened by Ras Mikaél, the then governor general of Wällo. With a permission of Menelik II, Ras Mikaél granted 4 gasha of land to the church, and 7 gasha of land to its tabot, priests and deacons. Ras Mikaél also appointed a certain Mämher Qälämä Wärq to be the head priest of the church.

67During the time of Ras Kassa, it was found that water was leaking in through the top of the mountain. The tabot of St. Giyorgis was then taken away to a small grass roof church in the highland. In 1933, the building was again used for usual liturgical activities. Fascist Italy had plundered many ancient inheritance of the church including sacred clothes, various gifts from Kings, historical books, and plenty of artifacts.

68While serving the monastery of Atsbidära Selassié (in Tigray), Abba Dässié Abägaz fromWärä Himäno Awraja (Wällo) read the history of Däbrä Kärbé. Being directed by what he read, this man came to teach students in Däbrä Kärbé and died there after many years of service.

Maintenance and repair

69This building is not used at present, since the roof is leaking. The building is to fall into ruins. Since 1988, the present generation has started to contribute for the maintenance of this building. The surrounding people have tried to stop the roof from leaking by covering it with grass. These efforts show willingness from the rank and file. However, the task is not completed and needs a cooperative effort and concern. The grass cover, for instance, cannot permanently prevent the leaking.


70This underground building has to be preserved and transmitted to the next generation. The surrounding people have to keep up their collective efforts to take care of the building. I think that these efforts will be more fruitful if the government plays the leading role by contributing the necessary items.

71Together with the campaign for repairing the building, we have to think of generating a permanent income for the church. Usual liturgical activities should have to continue in the building. There must also be a permanent generation of priests.

The monastery of Wäläqa Zäkaryas

72The monastery of Wäläqa Zäkaryas is found in Wällo, region, Boräna Awraja, Däbräsina Wäräda, 01 Bäefé Qäbälé peasant association.

73The underground building of this monastery has been closed (since the coming of Gragn and the Oromos to the area). Nobody knows where the doors and the various sections of this building are located exactly. However, there are many indicators that this building is found under a steep cliff in the hot lowland.

74There are two caves on the suggested place. It is widely believed that these caves were watch posts of guards. On the right side of one of the caves we read the word “Bâefe” clearly written. The meaning of this oromo word is “a place for hiding the property of migrants”. There is also another word written on the left side, but it is unreadable.

75This old underground building was built by Abba Wäläqa Zäkaryas Yesus. Hearing the coming of Gragn, the surrounding Christians closed the building after putting their important treasures inside it. It is said that closing this building (to hide it from Gragn) with stone and soil has taken more than a year time.

76During the time of Haylé Sellasié I, many efforts failed for lack of local cooperation. Calculating that the opening of the building will change their private land to Sämon (church land), the local Muslims [under the leadership of Dawd Béshah] agreed to promise not to tell the government event a word about the church. If someone had tried to break this promise, he would have been cursed up to his seventh generation.

77If this building could be excavated, people believe that there would be a golden carpet, a golden stick, the tabot of Yäsus, a book which contains the history of all the 44 unexplored underground monasteries of Tchaqata (the area between rivers Yäshum on the West, Wäläqa in the East and Abbay on the South), and other important inheritance. This could be proved only by a scientific exploration.

78The suggested place of the building is a sloppy land with a rich alluvial sort. A small river which peasants utilize for irrigation by-passes near this place. I suggest that expanding this irrigation must be a task to be carried on side-by-side with the search for the lost building.

79I think that the search for the lost building and the expected treasure inside it will not be fruitful unless one gets the participation of the local people.

  • 4 The bottom of the last two pages is not clearly readable.

80In the future I will try to write the history of the monastery of Däbrä Tsegé which was built by Abba Tsegé Dengel. This monastery is found in the present Däbräsina Wäräda, 04 Däbrä Tsegé Qäbälé peasant association4.


1 An informant recounted this miracle of the two friends during our visit to the area in December 1992. I inserted it to fill the gap in the description.

2 The writer uses long sentences.

3 These Geez phrases seem wrongly spelt in the text. “ወወሀበ ምድረ ለጋሰ” should read ወወሀበ ምድረ ለጋለ (he gave the land to the Galla). “ወወሀበ ምድረ ለእጓለ አወሕያው” should read “ወወሀበ ምድረ ለእጓለ አመሕያው” (he gave the land to the living; exactly to the children of the mother of the living, i.e., Eve). It might be a typing error that “” is used for “” and “” substituted “”.

4 The bottom of the last two pages is not clearly readable.

© Centre français des études éthiopiennes, 1993

Conditions d’utilisation :


Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search