Town of Tiya

Tiya is a town in central Ethiopia, which lies in the Gurage Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region 80km miles south of the capital, Addis Ababa.

Accessible via a highway that runs from Addis Ababa to the settlement, Butajira, the site lies just a short walk from the road.

Tiya Monoliths and burial mounds

Granted World Heritage Site recognition by UNESCO in 1972, the site lay undisturbed for centuries, until a number of the stone Stelae were uncovered at the turn of the last century.

From there the ever shifting sands slowly revealed more and more of their secrets, and now over 40 monuments have been laid bare, with countless more still hidden under the dunes.

The largest and most representative collection of monoliths of this kind in Africa, surprisingly little is known about these monuments other than their size and description. Small stone carvings made across the circumference of the tooth shaped stones detail the trials and tribulations of those buried underneath; many are adorned with etchings showing barbaric battles, periods of famine and great hardship, alluding to the fate those laid to rest beneath.