The Ethiopian Church is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to 4th Century AD, when Orthodox Christianity was made the official religion of the Axumite Kingdom, present day Ethiopian region of Tigray. Over the centuries, Christianity has shaped the people's psyche, as well as the landscape of Tigray, where hundreds of churches and monasteries have been erected and even carved right into mountain faces, so abundant in the region.
Modern-day Tigray has been at the cross roads of natural disasters, conflict and political turmoil. These difficulties have led to virtually no development in much of the region's rural areas. While the lack of development has translated into relatively low living standards, the scarcity of contact with the modern-world has also meant that Christian Ethiopia's ancient culture, traditions and history have been preserved in Tigray's remote corners better than virtually anywhere else.
In Tigray, even the most remote and the most ancient of the churches and monasteries still function and the people in nearby villages still go about their lives much as they have for hundreds of years.