Tigray is a region in the far north of Ethiopia. It is the region with the most ancient history of Ethiopia, dating back more than 3 millenniums with Yeha being home to Ethiopia's oldest monument, the Yeha Temple. Obviously, this region is part of the famous Ethiopia Historical Circuit, which includes the rock hewn churches of Gheralta and Wukro, the Royal Palace in Mek'ele, Axum with its Stelae and Tsion Maryam Cathedral and the Yeha Temple.
Wukro and Negash: Fascinating! Famous for its churches and the unusual and ancient building styles. The oldest spot for Islam in the country, see Mekele.
Adwa: Nowadays a small city with little to offer, but history buffs of Ethiopian war/military history, such as the Battle of Adwa against the Italians fought here in 1896, will wish to spend time here.
The province is the most influential in regards to Ethiopian culture and history, and Tigray is where most wars has been fought and thereby make the symbol of independent especially after defeating Italy in 1896. Thus, Tigray is the source of Ethiopian religion (both Christian and Islam), Music, alphabet, and soverginity. It is the home of the Tigray people; they use Tigrigna as their mother tongue. The situation between Tigray, Eritrea and Ethiopia is complicated. As the uprising against the Derg Regime started in Aksum the area was involved in seventeen years of war ending with replacement of military junta by federal system and Eritrea was get her independence from Ethiopia in 1993 by the help of Tigray people. A two year boorder war between Ethiopia and Eritrea was broke out.
The question whether Tigray should be independent or a part of Ethiopia is a tense subject which provokes arguments and grudges. At the creation of Ethiopia, during the time of Queen of Sheba until the creation of Lalibela, Aksum served as the capital for almost 2000 years. A lot of Ethiopian culture, religion and history has been created here. Due to war and threat from Muslims who had conquered Somalia and Yemen, the new capital was built in the mountains out of range of the Muslim armies. This made Tigray slowly be forgotten until the 19th century when Emperor Yohannes IV decided to move the capital away from Gondar to Mekele where the greatest salt fields in Africa were located, making Tigray important again. The money the salt export provided Ethiopia bought weapons via the help of French traders in Harar (one of them being Rimbaud)in conjunction with Russian support against the Italians at the battle of Adwa in 1896, making Ethiopia the first country in Africa not colonised.
The official language is suprisingly Tigrigna. There are also minor languages such as Saho,Kunama, Erob, and some amharic. In the main cities Amharic and English are widely spoken. The region consists of more than 95 % Tigray people.
There are two main airports in Tigray, Aksum and Mekele. From those there are daily flights heading south towards Addis Abeba, Lalibela, Gondar and Bahir Dar. Most flights to Gondar and Bahir Dar also make a 15 minutes stopover in Lalibela. There are also daily flights between Aksum and Mekele.
There are two main roads leading to Tigray: Highway 1 which runs all the way between Addis Abeba and Asmara through Mekele and the road between Aksum and Gondar. Notice that the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia is closed. For further information about how to get in by bus check the pages for Mekele and Aksum.
As of 2012, there are still ongoing clashes between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Stay on the main roads. Many governments recommend that their citizens keep a distance of at least 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the Eritrean border. Highway 1 running south towards Addis Ababa should be safe and the road between Aksum and Mekele is considered safe. There is a minor problem with bandits in the countryside near the border. The Eritrean troops have crossed the border and caused damage. It is important to follow advisories, if you do, there should be no problem.