Treasured sites of Northern Ethiopia, by helicopter

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Adventure, Culture, Nature: Northern Ethiopia, by helicopter

The spectacular landscape of Tigray in Northern Ethiopia is dominated by stratified mountains and sharp peaks, that dramatically rise from the arid plains. Atop these needles of rock, are 5th and 6th century ancient rock-hewn churches.

The helicopter makes it possible to visit some of the more isolated churches, perched on distant pinnacles. Even so, access to these ancient places of worship involves some pretty scary hikes, following paths cut into steep cliff faces. But its so worth it!

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There are about 120 incredible rock-hewn churches in Tigray, each unique to the other. They are carved from the rock in which they stand, and characterized by multiple passageways, nooks and crannies, their walls and ceiling decorated with colourful frescoes, hundreds of years old.

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The priests who live on these mountains follow a simple life that follows the Orthodox Christian calendar.

During a recent helicopter safari in Ethiopia, we took this old priest on a short flight around the mountains – not only was this his first time to fly, but the first time to leave the mountain in decades.

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Jamie Roberts pictured above

More about Tropic Air helicopter safaris in Ethiopia.