Tigray Region: Wikis


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This article contains Ethiopic text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Ethiopic characters.
For other uses please see Tigre (disambiguation)
the Tigray Region
ትግራይ ክልል
Et tigray.svg
Flag of the Tigray Region
Map of Ethiopia highlighting the Tigray Region in red
Capital Mek'ele
Area 50.078,64 km²
Population 4.334.996 (2005)
Population density 87 inhabits km² (2005)
ISO 3166-2 ET-TI

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 Eritrea to the north (independent from Ethiopia since 1993), Sudan to the west, the Afar Region to the east and the Amhara Region to the south. Besides Mek'ele, other major towns and 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 village of Yeha.



For the history of the Tigray area prior to 1995, see Tigray Province.

In 1998, war erupted between Eritrea and Ethiopia over a portion of territory that had been administered at part of Tigray, which included the town of Badme. Following a 2002 United Nations decision, much of this land was awarded to Eritrea, so far however, Ethiopia has refused to implement the final and binding ruling and as a result, relation with Eritrea is very tense.

Canyon west of Adigrat in northern Tigray
View of Tigray from Emperor Yohannes' Palace


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. The Region is predominantly Tigrayan, at 96.55% of the population; other ethnic groups include Amhara (1.63%), Irob or Saho (0.71%), Afar (0.29%) Agaw/Kamyr (0.19%), Oromo (0.17%), and Kunama (0.07%). 95.6% of the population were Orthodox Christians, 4.0% Muslim, 0.4% Catholics, and 0.1% Protestant.[1]

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.[2]

According to the CSA, as of 2004, 53.99% of the total population had access to safe drinking water, of whom 42.68% were rural inhabitants and 97.28% were urban.[3] Values for other reported common indicators of the standard of living for Tigray as of 2005 include the following: 31.6% of the inhabitants fall into the lowest wealth quintile; adult literacy for men is 67.5% and for women 33.7%; and the Regional infant mortality rate is 67 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, which less than the nationwide average of 77; at least half of these deaths occurred in the infants’ first month of life.[4]

Mountains of Lemalimo near Inda Selassie in western Tigray


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%).[5]

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.[6]

Presidents of the Executive Committee

  • Gebru Asrat (TPLF) 1992 - 2001
  • Tsegay Berhe (TPLF) 2001 - present

(This list is based on information from Worldstatesmen.org.)


See also


  1. ^ "Census 2007", first draft, Tables 1, 4, 5, 6.
  2. ^ FDRE States: Basic Information - Tigray, Population (accessed 22 March 2006)
  3. ^ "Households by sources of drinking water, safe water sources" CSA Selected Basic Welfare Indicators (accessed 21 January 2009)
  4. ^ Macro International Inc. "2008. Ethiopia Atlas of Key Demographic and Health Indicators, 2005." (Calverton: Macro International, 2008), pp. 2, 3, 10 (accessed 28 January 2009)
  5. ^ "CSA 2005 National Statistics", Tables D.4 - D.7.
  6. ^ Combating the destruction of Ethiopia's archaeological heritage Jacke Phillips & Tekle Hagos with Asfaw Arefaine, Sheila Boardman, Chester Cain, Mark Dover & Michael Harlow. Antiquity Vol 78 No 302 December 2004

External links

Coordinates: 14°08′12″N 38°18′34″E / 14.1365757°N 38.3093262°E / 14.1365757; 38.3093262



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