Tiya steleas. A tourist attraction close to Addis Abeba

05.11.2008 // Tiya is among the most important of the roughly 160 archaeological sites discovered so far in the Soddo region, south of Addis Ababa. The site contains 36 monuments, including 32 carved stelae covered with symbols, most of which are difficult to decipher. They are the remains of an ancient Ethiopian culture whose age has not yet been precisely determined.

The largest and most representative collection of stelae are to be found near the village of Tiya. Originally forty-six stelae were erected in the cemetery between the tenth and fifteenth centuries. Archaeological excavations show that the site contains graves. The stelae of Tiya have carvings representing swords and various enigmatic signs quite unlike those of other regions. The tradition of erecting megalithic monuments is very ancient in Ethiopia; some date from before our era. The site of Tiya is inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage List. 

The Tiya project has included the re-erection of some fallen stelae already completed, together with archaeological excavations by the French teams. The construction of an exhibition hall with information about the stelae fields is now in progress.
According to the very pleasant and professional guide at the place Senai Eshete, approximately 100 tourists visit each week. He maintains that the signs on the steleas also include women's breasts, headstools; human body parts and tools, while the number of swords on the steleas signify how many people a warrior has killed.

The area is easy to find with an UNESCO Heritage site symbol easily visible fromn the road.

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