2700 year old Yeha Temple after successful restoration by the German Archaeological Institut re-opened

The Yeha Temple -situated in the small village Yeha in Tigray region and built in the 7th century BC was re-opened for the public on 15 March 2017 after a successful restoration through German experts, which took 8 years.

The President of the Ethiopian Authority of Research and Conservation  of the Cultural Heritage (ARCCH), Ato Yonas Desta, the General Manager of the Tigray Culture and Tourism Bureau, Ato Dawit Hailu, the Chargé d’Affaires of the German Embassy, Mr Matthias Schauer, the President of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), Prof Dr. Friederike Fless, the members of the Architectural Monument Commission of the DAI and high ranking officials from the Ethiopian Antiquity Authorities (ARCCH and TCTB) and from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Community of Yeha took part in the opening ceremony.

Founded as a commercial establishment in the 1st millennium BC, Yeha was the centre of a community called Di’amat. The origins of the settlement date back to the immigration of people from Southern Arabia in today’s Yemen. The sacred site was the religious centre of this community and is considered the most significant pre-christian sacred building in Eastern Africa.

The guests of honour stressed the importance of this archeological site for the Tigray Region and Ethiopia as a whole and its significance for the German-Ethiopian Cultural relations and for tourism to the region. Mr Matthias Schauer, Chargé d’Affaires of the German Embassy, emphasized the visibility of the project and underlined that such visible projects turn foreign policy from an abstract matter into a physical experience. Ato Yonas Desta, President of the Authority of Research and Conservation of the Cultural Heritage (ARCCH) promised further financial support due to the significance of this project for Ethiopia. Dr Iris Gerlach, head of the Sanaa Branch of the Orient Department and the head of the excavation team, thanked the audience and the institutions involved for their continuous support of the project.

The restoration of the temple complex is accomplished, but the project supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and executed by the German Archaelogical Institute (DAI) in collaboration with the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena continues. A further site is currently under excavation. This site dates back to the 8th century BC and probably used to be a Palace or an administration building.                     

The construction of a museum in close proximity of the temple site is already in progress. The opening is planned in the near future.