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Title: Wiqro  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Sahama, Misraqawi Zone
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Location within Ethiopia

Coordinates: 13°47′N 39°36′E / 13.783°N 39.600°E / 13.783; 39.600Coordinates: 13°47′N 39°36′E / 13.783°N 39.600°E / 13.783; 39.600

Country Ethiopia
Region Tigray
Zone Misraqawi
District Wukro
Elevation 1,972 m (6,470 ft)
Population (2007)
 • Total 30,210
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)

Wukro (also transliterated Ugoro;[1] formerly known as Dongolo) is a town and separate woreda in northern Ethiopia. It's located in the Misraqawi (Eastern) zone of the Tigray region on the Asmara-Addis Ababa highway. Wukro is surrounded by Kilte Awulaelo woreda.


The rock-hewn churches around Wukro are the town's most distinctive landmarks; in the early 20th century the town's name was changed from "Dongolo" to the Tigrigna word for a structure carved from the living rock, Wukro.[2]

Local industry includes Sheba Tannery, which is capable of processing 6,000 hides a day. Opened in 2004, the tannery is one of the 13 companies owned and managed by the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT).[3]

Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah announced in July 2009, during a 3-day visit to Ethiopia, that his country would provide a $63 million loan to Ethiopia, part of which would be used to build a road between Wukro and Zalambessa near the Eritrean-Ethiopian border.[4]


Francisco Álvares was the first European recorded to have visited Wukro, when in 1521 he stayed at the royal inn or Betenegush. His account also includes a description of Maryam Wukro church "made in a rock, hewn and wrought with the pickaxe, with three aisles and their supports made of the rock itself."[5] The next important European visit was in 1868 when Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Napier passed through the village on his way to Magdela where he defeated the Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros II.[6] During their march through Wukro, members of the British army saw one of the Tigrayan rock-hewn churches, most likely Wukro Chirkos, and were afterwards thought to be the first Europeans to see these unusual structures;[7] another notable landmark is the more recent church Wukro Giyorgis Bete.

During the Italian occupation, one Francesco Baldassare started a mill in Wukro, but abandoned it when the Italians were defeated in 1941.[8] Wukro was used as his headquarters by Blatta Haile Mariam Redda during the Woyane rebellion, until Ras Abebe Aregai captured the town 17 October 1943.[9] Dawit W. Girgis reports in his memoirs that in 1964, with the permission of Emperor Haile Selassie, the Israelis operated a secret base outside Wukro where members of the Anyanya (a Sudanese rebel group) were trained in guerrilla warfare.[8]

During the Ethiopian Civil War, Wukro was repeatedly attacked by Derg aircraft in 1988, resulting in the deaths of a total of 175 residents.[10]


Based on the 2007 national census conducted by the Central Statistical Agency, this town has a total population of 30,210, of whom 14,056 are men and 15,154 are women. A total of 9,383 households were counted in this town, resulting in an average of 3.22 persons to a household, and 8,993 housing units. The majority of the inhabitants said they practiced Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, with 92.94% reporting that as their religion, while 6.03% of the population were Muslim.[11]

The 1994 census reported the town had a total population of 16,421 of whom 7,427 were men and 8,994 were women. It is the largest settlement in Wukro woreda.


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