Top Reasons To Visit Eritrea

A long disputed border with Ethiopia clearly isn’t one of the top reasons to visit Eritrea but this conflict shouldn’t stop you from going there. Eritrea is an East African country in the middle of Djibouti and Sudan. Multifaceted as it is, the country has many interesting sights. Five of the best attractions in Eritrea are listed below.

1. Qohaito Ruins

The site is believed to be the ruins of Koloe, an ancient city and commercial center of the Aksumite Kingdom. It spans 1.5 miles wide and 9 miles long. There are several notable attractions in the area like the ruined Temple of Mariam Wakiro and a sandstone tomb of Egyptian origins. Not far from Qohaito are rock art sites like the Adi Alauti Cave.

2. Dankalia

The desolate, narrow strip of land is one of the most uninhabitable places on the planet. Climate is extremely hot and there’s very little to see. What makes it intersting are its volcanic, lunar landscapes. The Afar or Danakil, one of the fiercest tribes in the world, are known to live here too. Dankalia is one of the top reasons to visit Eritrea.

3. St. Mariam Cathedral

The Orthodox church is further from the causeway road which is lined with historic Italian-style buildings. You have to go past the Dahlak Hotel and villas with Art Deco and Moorish architecture. About 500 meters from these amazing structures is the St. Mariam Cathedral. Fronting this beautiful church are three large battle tanks with stand as a monument to the country’s Struggle for Independence.

Historic center on the island of Massawa

Historic center on the island of Massawa

4. Imperial Palace

While traveling through causeway road, you can stop by the Imperial Palace. It is located north of the Dahlak Hotel’s gates and offers views of the harbor. Originally, it was built by Osdemir Pasha during the 16th century but it was damaged during the Struggle for Independence. The palace that stands today is an 1872 reconstruction and is still one of the top reasons to visit Eritrea.

5. Sheikh Hanafi Mosque

The mosque is at the heart of Piazza Degli Incendi or “The Square of Fire”. It dates back to 500 years ago and is now one of the oldest buildings in the city. The mosque commemorates Sheikh Hanafi who was a great teacher of his time. The courtyard walls are a must-see as they are decorated with stuccowork. The elegant chandelier hanging from inside is made of Murano glass, a special Italian craftwork.

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