Et tigray.svg
Flag of the Tigray Region
Ethiopia Tigray locator.png
Map of Ethiopia highlighting the Tigray Region




Tigray Region (ትግራይ ክልል Tigrāy Kilil) is the northernmost of the nine ethnic regions (kililoch) of Ethiopia containing the homeland of the Tigray people. It was formerly known as Region 1. Its capital is Mek'ele.

Tigray is bordered by Sudan to the west, Eritrea to the north (independent from Ethiopia since 1993), the Afar Region to the east, and the Amhara Region to the south.


Mek'ele Besides, other major cities in Tigray include Abiy Addi, Adigrat, Adwa, Aksum, Humera, Inda Selassie, Korem, Alamata, Maychew, Wukro, Qwiha and Zalambessa, as well as the historically significant town of Yeha.


Flag of the Tigray Region
Map of Ethiopia highlighting the Tigray Region





50.078,64 km²

4.334.996 (2005)

87 inhabits km² (2005)
























Based on the 2007 Census conducted by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA), the Tigray Region has an estimated total population of 4,314,456, of whom 2,124,853 are men and 2,189,603 women; urban inhabitants number 842,723 or 19.53% of the population. With an estimated area of 50,078.64 square kilometers, this region has an estimated density of 86.15 people per square kilometer. For the entire region 985,654 households were counted, which results in an average for the Region of 4.4 persons to a household, with urban households having on average 3.4 and rural households 4.6 people. At 96.55% of the local population, the region is predominantly inhabited by people from the Semitic-speaking Tigray ethnic group. Most other residents hail from other Afro-Asiatic communities,



Including the

Amhara (1.63%),

Saho (0.71%),

Afar (0.29%),

Agaw (0.19%) and Oromo (0.17%).

There are also a minority of Nilo-Saharan-speaking Kunama Nilotes (0.07%). 95.6% of the Tigray region's population is

Orthodox Christians, 4.0%

Muslim, 0.4%

Catholics and 0.1%


TPLF seal



In the previous census, conducted in 1994, the Region's population was 3,136,267, of whom 1,542,165 were men and 1,594,102 women; urban inhabitants numbered 621,210 or 14% of the population. Ethnic groups present at the time of the earlier census included Tigrayan (94.98%), 2.6% Amhara (2.6%), Irob (0.7%), and Kunama (0.05%). 95.5% of the population were Orthodox Christians, while 4.1% and 0.4% were Muslim and Catholics, respectively. Its working language is Tigrinya.




The CSA estimated in 2005 that farmers in Tigray had a total of 2,713,750 cattle (representing 7.0% of Ethiopia's total cattle), 72,640 sheep (0.42%), 208,970 goats (1.61%), 1,200 horses (less than 0.1%), 9,190 mules (6.24%), 386,600 asses (15.43%), 32,650 camels (7.15%), 3,180,240 poultry of all species (10.3%), and 20,480 beehives (0.47%).

Canyon west of Adigrat in northern Tigray


Landmarks of Tigray

A distinctive feature of Tigray are its rock-hewn churches. Similar in design to those of Lalibela, these churches are found in four or five clusters -- Gheralta, Takatisfi, Atsbi and Tembien -- with Wukro sometimes included. Some of the churches are considered earlier than those of Lalibela, perhaps dating from the eighth century. Mostly monolithic, with designs partly inspired by classical architecture, they are often located at the top of cliffs or steep hills, for security. For example, Tigray's ancient Debre Damo monastery is accessible only by climbing a rope 25 meters up a sheer cliff.

Looting has become a major issue in the Tigray Region, as archaeological sites have become sources for construction materials and ancient artifacts used for everyday purposes by local populations.

The area is famous for a single rock sculptured 23 meter long obelisk in Axum as well as for other fallen obelisks. The Axum treasure site of ancient Tigrayan history is a major landmark. Yeha is another important local landmark that is little-known outside the region.





About 83% of the population are farmers. Taff, wheat, corn, sorghum, barely niger seed, flaxseed and sesame are the main crops. Other agricultural products include pulses, beans, lentils, onions, vegetables and fruits and potatoes. Irrigation and terrace farming are used on the steep slopes. The region is also known for its export items of cotton, incense, sesame and minerals. 1.5 million hectares of land in the region is cultivable, of which one million hectares is being cultivated, while 420,877 hectares of land is terraced. Handicraft (gold smith, painting and wood sculptures) is another area of activity observed in the historic cities of the state.









The Tekeze Dam, a curved and arched dam that stands 188 meters tall is located in Tigrai state. It is 99% completed and almost ready to provide service. Ethiopia will gain about 30 percent more power by generating 300 megawatts of electricity from a reservoir holding 9.3 billion cubic meter of water.

Four 75-megawatts generators and four turbines beneath the dam will begin service soon. The dam has been gathering the waters of the Tekeze River and its tributaries in northern Ethiopia.


Tekeze and Mereb are international rivers that pass through the state of Tigrai with their sources in the Amhara and Eritrean Mountains, respectively. There are small rivers such as Geba, Worii, Berber, Arqoa and Teter, Seysa which are suitable for irrigation development. Tekeze is a promising source of hydroelectric power. Lake Ashenge, which is found in the state, is an interesting area for observing birds and for fishing.





Industry is still minimal but growing, some of the industry include an equipment manufacturing and industrial engineering company called Mesfin Industrial Engineering MIE where a wide range of products is manufactured at its industrial complex (35,000 m2 covered premises on a 120,000 m2 site), which is fully equipped with the state-of-the art machinery. It employs 600 well-trained industrial workers including designers, technologists, welders and quality assurance experts.It designs, manufactures and installs equipment and components for the energy, mining, manufacturing transport and agriculture sectors. With an annual capacity of 3,000 trailers and semi-trailers, MIE is the biggest trailer manufacturer in East Africa. It designs and manufactures vehicle bodies, trailers, as well as high & low-bed semi-trailers. Heavy-duty trucks are assembled at the Truck Assembly Plant in Mekelle. These trucks are especially suited for the road conditions in Africa and are competitively priced. MIE's product range includes inter-city and city buses, skip-loaders, and waste and sewer cleaners for the municipal services.

There are also a pharmaceutical factory , a textiles factory, a cement factory, a laeser tanning factory, a marble cutting factory, a flour mill factory, a nail factory , a water puerfication factory, and a small shoe factory are some of them. Most new enterprises are small and medium scale. The industrial including Mining and quarry manufacturing has grown in four years by 24.7%, which incorporates water, electric and construction activities.




Education services are improving since the war ended in 1991. As of 2006 there are 1,725 schools in total of which 113 pre school, 1598 primary, and 64 secondary high schools; 54 Community colleges including 1 teacher training institute; 2 technical schools; 1 business college; I nursing school , 1 agricultural college and 2 universities.Mekelle University with three campuses Which includes a medical school at Ayder campus, business school at adi haki campus and the main campus at enda Iyesooss which, can acomodate 15000 students. Axum University is still under constuction but it has been offcially inaugurated on Feb.16 2007 and has 2400 students enrolled.By the time all the conctruction is completed Axum University would have the capacity to enroll 9000 students. There are 51 primary and 13 secondary private and church schools in the state. Gross and net enrollment rate in primary and secondary schools increased by 482.6%.






Health coverage in Tigrai was one of the lowest in Ethiopia. Only 12% of the society was getting some health benefits. Luck of health was used as a systematic tool to keep the people under developed by the central governments in the past. Health coverage was very minimal or it did not exist in most parts of the State before 1991. Since 1991 after the TPLF took power in Tigrai, the number of health posts or small clinics increase from 100 to 600, small hospitals from 10 to 40, central hospitals from 4 to 13 and one referral hospitals were built and are giving service to the public. The health coverage in this state from 1991 to 2006 grew from 12% to 70% and still growing.









Tigrai is among the few in the world, frequently mentioned in civilization and cultural lists of humanity for its universally accepted historic sites. The state has some of the most important historical monuments of the continent. It is very well known for its pre-Christian monuments. The Axum obelisks or Steles (2nd century BC), the pre-Axumite Yeha’s "Temple of The Moon" (5th century BC), bath and palace of the Queen Sheba and the Ark of the Covenant, are among the most prominent. The Ark of the Covenant, is said to have been brought from the Temple in Jerusalem. Moreover, the region has served as entrance of the two world religions- Christianity in the 4th century AD, and Islam in the 6th century AD into Ethiopia. The mosque of Negash is also another historical site. There are more than 120 rock hewn churches and caves that serve as monasteries scattered over the mountains of Tigrai, containing gold and silver crosses, glittering crowns, manuscripts and stones bearing ancient Sabean inscriptions. These and other cultural heritages are priceless assets of the country.





The state of Tigrai has created favourable conditions and incentives in order to attract investors for more info click here. So far, until the beginning of 1998, there were 361 projects with a capital of 4 billion Ethiopian Birr. These projects focus mainly on agriculture, industry, hotel and tourism, social services, mining, construction and transport. About 200,138 persons will benefit from the job opportunity created by these projects. The state also has large farming areas suitable for the production of cash crops such as cotton and different kinds of oilseeds.



Canyon west of Adigrat in northern Tigray



<div style="background-color: none transparent;"> <a href="" title="News Widget">News Widget</a> </div> - Blog Ping-Dienst, Blogmonitor

I heart FeedBurner

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Powered by FeedBurner

Add to Google
Add to Google