Adwa is a city in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, not far south of the border with Eritrea. The small village of Yeha is in the same area and its ancient temple is a bigger drawcard than anything in Adwa.
The invading Italian Army was defeated by Ethiopian defenders at the Battle of Adwa in 1896. The Italians returned under Mussolini in 1936 and managed to defeat the Ethiopian Army, in the process killing numerous civilians while sustaining heavy losses. Five years later, the Italians were kicked out of the country for good.
Adwa is 22 km east of Axum, the nearest city, by sealed road. It is west, and much further, from Adigrat.
There is a daily bus from Mekele via Abi Addi.
Minibuses run to Yeha, taking 50 minutes and costing 13 birr. Be prepared for a bumpy ride. The last one back to Adwa leaves at about 4pm.
- Selassie Church. Built by Emperor Yohannis IV.
- Gebriel Church.
- Abba Garima monastery, Madera (take the road south towards Abi Addi for 6 km, then turn off left along a track for 3 km). Women may not enter the church or treasury. 120 birr.
- Great Temple. A pre-Christian and pre-Aksumite temple dating back at least 2500 years. Undergoing restoration. There is also a small museum containing pre-Christian artefacts and Christian manuscripts, crosses, paintings etc. 100 birr.
- Church of Abba Afse (or Abuna Aftse) (next to the temple). According to tradition, Abba Aftse, one of the Nine Saints of the 5th century, founded a monastery here. Outside, you can see boys reciting passages in Ge'ez, the ancient scriptural language of Ethiopia, as part of their church education.
- Rocky hilltop that looks like a lion.
- Cheap souvenirs and strange treasures are available for sale from children outside the Yeha temple/church complex.
There are several hotels in Adwa.