The Ancient Temple at Yeha

The temple at Yeha from the first millennium BC demonstrates that this was a political and religious center.

There was a migration of the Semitic Sabeans from what is today Yemen on the Arabian penisula. They intermarried with the local Cushite people. So our guide said with a smile that the new population was neither black nor white but habesha that is chocolate.  This merging of cultures created a new culture of the Dimant Kingdom.

Ethiopia-Yeha-18 Ethiopia-Yeha-1

Today the walls are 14 meters high. They have not been reconstructed however they are injecting epoxy to strengthen this structure that has no mortar. The original was 25 meters high. It was a rectangle of 18.5 by 15 meters.





Ethiopia-Yeha-2This would have been a purificatory bathing pool to prepare for the sacrifice. They would have worshipped the sun god and the cresent-shaped moon goddess.






This gives you some sense of the magnitude of this 8th century BC structure.


The limestone for this structure of perfect lines and geometry was quarried from about 90 miles away. The roof would have been flat of alabaster. This is a remarkable structure in that the limestone blocks are perfectly dressed and fitted with no mortar.



The church of Abuna Aftse was built in 1940 over the remains of a 6th century church.  Notice the incorporation of stone elements from the temple, especially the ibex relief. The ibex was sacred in south Arabia.

An ancient Sabean inscription.

An ancient Sabean inscription.


A small sacrifical altar. Notice the symbols: the crescent moon for the goddess and the solar disk for the god.

A small sacrifical altar. Notice the symbols: the crescent moon for the goddess and the solar disk for the god.

Ethiopia-Yeha-9A Mass book of about 300 years old.

The priest said to me: you are a priest and then with a smile said: good. He was so welcoming and delighted to share the treasures of his church.  The red over the black is musical notation and he demonstrated for me by chant.

A real treasure is an illuminated manuscript of the Life of Mary.



The excavation of the palace of Sabaen era. It is only 10% excavated.

Daniel who is a local guide invited us into his family compound so we could see his new baby.







We enjoyed local beer.

The courtyard which is the center of family life.

The kitchen.

1 thought on “The Ancient Temple at Yeha

  1. Pingback: Ancient Inscription Blocks from Yeha, Ethiopia, Africa | Sola Rey

Comments are closed.