Aba Yohani monastery (sometimes referred to as Aba Yohannis) is one of the still-active rock-hewn monasteries in Tigray. This monastery has one of the most refreshing views and panoramic scenes. This monastery is one of the few beautiful places in Abi Adi that you must visit. The mountain where the monastery is carved from, the surrounding view, and the condition of the area combined will definitely give you a glimpse of how beautiful and healthy the area is.
Aba Takelabe Aberha, now more than 81 years old (in 2022), of Aba Yohannis monastery, told the photographer JOEY L how he was impressed by the area and decided to live there for the rest of his life. “My father was a priest and when my mom died, he became a monk. I followed. I came from my village, from the countryside to learn. I didn’t go home. I preferred to stay here. I’ve been here for 43 years.”
Aba Yohannis monastery is impressively built halfway up on a 300 meters cliff. Set midway up a rock face, it’s just about accessible by a steep climb on the western side, followed by a walk through tunnels carved into the rock, ending with a tiptoe along a narrow ledge with a steep drop, to access the church. As can be seen from one of the pictures below taken from a distance, the holes are windows and doors. They are not as small as you see in the picture.
Getting there requires walking up on steps and ridges. The climb alone could take a little over 20 minutes. Reaching this monastery requires a bumpy drive of 13-14 Kilometers from the small town of Abi Adi.
There is a legend about Aba Yohani the saint and the monastery.