Degol Woyane is a tabia or municipality in the Dogu'a Tembien district of the Tigray Region of Ethiopia. It includes Dabba Selama, the oldest monastery of Ethiopia, and the most inaccessible in the world. The tabia centre is in Zala village, located approximately 10 km to the west of the woreda town Hagere Selam.
|Zone||Debub Misraqawi (Southeastern)|
|• Total||29.19 km2 (11.27 sq mi)|
|Elevation||2,500 m (8,200 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+3 (EAT)|
- 1 Geography
- 2 History
- 3 Roads and communication
- 4 Tourism
- 5 More detailed information
- 6 Gallery
- 7 References
The tabia stretches down west of Melfa, along the westernmost ridge of Dogu'a Tembien. The highest peak is T'afa (2580 m a.s.l.) and the lowest place Addi Welo (1990 m a.s.l.).
From the higher to the lower locations, the following geological formations are present:
As there are no permanent rivers, the presence of springs is of utmost importance for the local people. The following are the springs in the tabia:
- May Dara in Zala
- Addi Welo
The population lives essentially from crop farming, supplemented with off-season work in nearby towns. The land is dominated by farmlands which are clearly demarcated and are cropped every year. Hence the agricultural system is a permanent upland farming system.
The tabia centre Zala holds a few administrative offices and some small shops. The main other populated places in the tabia are:
Religion and rock churchesEdit
Most inhabitants are Orthodox Christians. The following rock churches are located in the tabia:
The almost inaccessible Dabba Selama monastery (Frumentius. The intrepid visitor will climb down, then scramble over narrow ledges along precipices, and finally climb an overhanging cliff. The mesa also comprises a church hewn in Adigrat Sandstone, in shape of a small basilica. The carvers attempted to establish four bays as wel as with a recess. The pillars are rounded (which is uncommon) and expand at either end, supporting arches that appear as triangles. Women are not allowed to do the ascent, nor to visit monastery or church. Independently from the difficult access to the monastery, the surrounding sandstone geomorphology is unique.) is assumed to be the first monastery established in Ethiopia, by Saint
The Amani'el church in May Baha (Adigrat Sandstone. Behind a pronaos (1960s), the rock church has cruciform columns, flat beams and a flat ceiling, a single arch, and a flat rear wall without apse. Windows give light to the church itself. Emperor Yohannes IV was baptised in this church.) has also been carved in
The history of the tabia is strongly confounded with the history of Tembien.
Roads and communicationEdit
A rural access road links Zala to the main asphalt road in Hagere Selam.
Its mountainous nature, monastery and rock church make the tabia fit for tourism.
- Daba Selama monastery
- May Baha rock church
- Grand-canyon-like landscapes
The high variability of geological formations and the rugged topography invites for geological and geographic tourism or "geotourism". Geosites in the tabia include:
Birdwatching (for the species, see the main Dogu'a Tembien page) can be done particularly in exclosures and forests. The following bird-watching sites have been inventoried in the tabia and mapped.
- Zala slope forest
- May Baha church forest
- May Mirara forest
- Route 4, from Hagere Selam, through Ferrey and Dabba Selama to Kola Tembien
- Route 5, from Hagere Selam, through May Baha to Kola Tembien
- Route 25, from Zala, along the ridge through Geramba to Kola Tembien
All treks require good physical condition and will take (at least) a full day.
Inda Siwa, the local beer housesEdit
- Tinsue Brhane at Zala
- Letebrhan Gerese'a at Zala
Accommodation and facilitiesEdit
More detailed informationEdit
For more details on environment, agriculture, rural sociology, hydrology, ecology, culture, etc., see the overall page on the Dogu'a Tembien district.
- Sembroni, A.; Molin, P.; Dramis, F. (2019). Regional geology of the Dogu'a Tembien massif. In: Geo-trekking in Ethiopia's Tropical Mountains - The Dogu'a Tembien District. SpringerNature. ISBN 978-3-030-04954-6.
- What do we hear from the farmers in Dogu'a Tembien? [in Tigrinya] (PDF). Hagere Selam, Ethiopia. 2016. p. 100.
- Naudts, J (2002). Les Hautes Terres de Tembien, Tigré, Ethiopie; Résistance et limites d'une ancienne civilisation agraire; Conséquences sur la dégradation des terres [MSc dissertation]. CNEARC, Montpellier, France.
- Jacob, M. and colleagues (2019). Geo-trekking map of Dogu'a Tembien (1:50,000). In: Geo-trekking in Ethiopia's Tropical Mountains - The Dogu'a Tembien District. SpringerNature. ISBN 978-3-030-04954-6.
- Plant, R.; Buxton, D. (1970). "Rock-hewn churches of the Tigre province". Ethiopia Observer. 12 (3): 267.
- Gerster, G. (1972). Kirchen im Fels – Entdeckungen in Äthiopien. Zürich: Atlantis Verlag.
- Description of trekking routes in Dogu'a Tembien. In: Geo-trekking in Ethiopia's Tropical Mountains - The Dogu'a Tembien District. SpringerNature. 2019. ISBN 978-3-030-04954-6.
- Geo-trekking in Ethiopia's Tropical Mountains - The Dogu'a Tembien District. SpringerNature. 2019. ISBN 978-3-030-04954-6.
- Miruts Hagos and colleagues (2019). Geosites, Geoheritage, Human-Environment Interactions, and Sustainable Geotourism in Dogu'a Tembien. In: Geo-Trekking in Ethiopia's Tropical Mountains, the Dogu'a Tembien District. SpringerNature. ISBN 978-3-030-04954-6.
- Aerts, R.; Lerouge, F.; November, E. (2019). Birds of forests and open woodlands in the highlands of Dogu'a Tembien. In: Geo-trekking in Ethiopia's Tropical Mountains - The Dogu'a Tembien District. SpringerNature. ISBN 978-3-030-04954-6.
- Description of Trekking Routes in Dogu'a Tembien. Springer-Nature. 2019. pp. 557–675.
- Logistics for the Trekker in a Rural Mountain District of Northern Ethiopia. Springer-Nature. 2019. pp. 537–556.