The State of Tigray

The State of Tigray consists of 4 administrative zones, one special zone, 35 woredas
and 74 towns. The
State Council which is the highest administrative body of the state is made up of 152
members, the executive body comprises of 16 personalities.


The capital city of the State of Tigray is Mekele


The State of Tigray is located at the northern tip of the country. The region shares
common borders with Eritrea in the north, the State of Afar in the east, the State of
Amhara in the south, and the Republic of the Sudan in the west

The State of Tigray has an estimated area of 80,000 square kilometers.

Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency (CSA) of Ethiopia published in
2005, Tigray has an estimated total population of 4,334,996, consisting of 2,136,000
men and 2,198,996 women. 3,519,000 or 81.2% of the population are estimated to
be rural inhabitants, while 816,000 or 18.8% are urban. With an estimated area of
50,078.64 square kilometers, this region has an estimated density of 86.56 people
per square kilometer.
In terms of religion 95.5% of the population are Orthodox Christians, 4.1% and 0.4%
are Muslims and Catholicse respectively.  Rregarding ethnic composition, 94.98%
are Tigraway, 2.6% Amhara, 0.7%  Erob and 0.05% Kunama. Tigrigna is the working
language of the state.

About 83% of the population are farmers. Teff, wheat, and barely are the main crops.
Other agricultural products include beans, lentils, onions, 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.

Centuries of erosion, deforestation and overgrazing have left the region with dry and
treeless plains, hills and plateau. Nevertheless, an amazing landscape of chains of
mountains ranging from 3,250-3,500 meters, cliffs, ledges and precipice are natural
attractions of the region. Two altitude extremes: the elevation of the region rises from
600-2,700 above sea level, the Tekeze Gorge, 550 meters above sea level and the
"Kisad Gudo" peak at 3,935 meters above sea level are among Tigray’s natural
scenery which is classified into the central highland, the western lowland and eastern
escarpments. The climate of the region is characterized as "Kolla" (semi arid) 39%,
"Woina dega" (warm temperate) 49%, and "Dega" (temperate) 12%. The average
annual rainfall is between 450-980 mm.

Tekeze and Mereb are international rivers that pass through the state of Tigray  with
their sources in the Amhara and Eritrean Mountains, respectively. There are small
rivers such as Geba, Worii, Berber, Arqoa and Teter, 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.

The State claims to have about 11.51 million domestic animals (1997 G.C.) of which
2.15 million are cattle, 5.63 million are sheep and goats and 392,000 are pack

Elephant, leopard, klipspringer and bushback are among the wild animals that are
found in the state.

Tigray is one of the richest areas in Ethiopia in miniral resources. Some of the
explored metallic minerals of the state include gold, copper, iron ore, zinc, lead and
nickel. Asbestos, Silica sand, Kaolin, graphite, gypsum gemstone arite, marble,
granite slate, limestone and dolomite are among the non-metallic minerals.

Tigray 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 monastries scattered over the mountains of Tigray,
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 Tigray has created favorable conditions and incentives in order to
attract investors. 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.
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HIs Excellency Tsegay Berhe
president of regional state of Tigray