Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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Blair PRIDAY, Director
Judith VAN HELDEN, Administrator
Cathy GIANGRANDE, Trustee

The Holy Trinity church is at the center of Cheleqot and forms the heart of the community. The church was built and consecrated in 1793 (1785 Ethiopian calendar) and the murals, painted in the second Gondarine style by the famous Aleqa Hailu, are of the highest quality. The church collection represents a unique mixture of some of the finest Ethiopian works of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. These include early manuscripts and most unexpectedly, British pieces, many of which are gifts from King George III. This important collection of church treasures is not on display but rather kept in the church, where clergy and village community have kept them together for 200 years. The village reached out to the Ethiopian Heritage Fund to help create a museum to display this special collection. At the moment Cheleqot, a small village not far from Mekelle, does not benefit from Ethiopia’s increasing tourism. A small well-run museum could change this and help attract tourists to the church and village. As a result of this the community has an opportunity to benefit from the economic impact. The local community, led by the church curator, initiated the project and is very involved and keen to make a success of it. In our talk we will focus on how the Ethiopian Heritage Fund in collaboration with the community will curate and install the exhibition, create promotional material, and raise awareness through the use of tour operators to increase tourism in the area. We will show how a whole village can benefit from the museum and the economical, social and educational opportunities it creates.