Agency for Culture and Tourism in the National Regional State of Tigrai
ATO KEBEDE AMARE is General Manager for Agency for Culture and Tourism in the National Regional State of Tigrai (ATC), situated in Mekele, the capital in this, the northernmost province of Ethiopia. In this region, we find not only Aksum, the old capital of Ethiopia (ca 150 B.C – 700 A.D) with all its cultural hertitage, but also a number of unique ancient churches, about 150 of them rockhewn churches from the medieval time, cut out from the bedrock and situatated in the Tigrinian mountains. Ato Kebede and his staff is our closest collaborator and have by all means assisted in the preparations and paved the way for our project. ACT is one of the regional subdivisions of the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH), the Ministry of Culture, Addis Ababa, the national authority responsible for all Cultural Heritage in the country. Ato Kebede has among his staff a number of experts specialized within the fields which serve the objects for the activities of ACT. With his around twenty employee this institution has the capacity of assisting all kinds of projects – not least the research projects that are prosecuted in the province. It is ARCCH and its regional departments that issues official permissions for individual scholars as well as for the activities of various projects. By the agency of him and his staff our preliminary examination of the church and the paintings of Debre Selam Mikael (DSM), conducted in November 2009, was prepared on location, helped by the well established contacts ACT has with local people as well as the regional and local ecclesiastical authorities. In accord with him and this office a joint application for funds to the pilot project DSM has been prepared, funds which we hope will be granted by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The great interest in our project from this most charming and collaborative person and ACT, as well as from ARCCH is partly owing to the importance a rearmament of ancient churches and art has for the national cultural heritage as such. But this interest is as much due to the didactic part of this, i.e. the domestic education of restorers and the long-term program of cultural care taking towards which our project is aiming, that of course also will have importance for the tourism in the country. Learn more: Mekele, ARCCH and SIDA
ATO MULU TEKLAY BARYATSION is employed at the Agency for Tourism and Culture in the National State of Tigrai (ACT) and is one of the closest co-workers to its General Manager Ato Kebede Amare, responsible of the Cultural Heritage of Tigrai. ATC is a subdivision to Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH), Ministry of Culture, Addis Ababa, the national institution with the overall responsibility of the National Cultural Heritage of Ethiopia. Ato Mulu was the one who, together with other colleagues from ACT, by several meetings with the Woreda Church Office in Atsbi, the regional ecclesiastical board (with responsibility for the churches in the area, inclusive Debre Selam Mikael) as well as with the church board of the church of Debre Selam Mikael (DSM) and the priests at DSM paved the way for our preliminary examination on account of planned conservation of this church. He was our contact person and interpreter during this examination and assisted us in various practical issues in connection with this. He has, since several years, developed good relations with responsible priests at a number of the churches in Tigrai that stand under the responsibility of the cultural authorities. He is also the contact person between the Project Manager, Lars Gerdmar, and ACT in Mekele when the team is in Sweden, and assists the team with practical issues on location as well as in current contacts with mentioned priests and boards and others involved.