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Eye Opening Tour To The Southern Red Sea Region: Land Of Dankalia

With birds eye view into the Southern Rea Sea region one needs no explanation to witness to what the government of Eritrea is heavily investing in that region. The newly built heath facilities from that of Dahtum referral hospital to the small clinics, the junior and elementary schools, the fi sh processing facilities along the coast lines, and boarding schools are vivid examples for my argument. And all the health facilities, schools and fish processing plants are new once explaining by themselves that they were built after independence. Before the country’s independence the region was highly ignored and forgotten by the successive Ethiopian colonizing regimes. The region was used only as boasting point for them that they own access to the sea. They were after the land and not after the people.

The road that connects Massawa with Assab is one of the prominent testimonies that Eritrea is a country of can do. The terrain that once looked impenetrable and hostile has been penetrated and the journey that used to take more than three days is now reachable with one day drive. The excellence of our construction companies in building enduring and outstanding roads that they proved in building the Serejeka-Shebah road has been proved once more in this road. What makes the road spectacular is that it goes alongside the sea and is enjoyable to drive through taking pleasure of the sea breathe all the way. On the way from Massawa to Assab there are plenty areas of interest worth visiting. Asgoma with its clean shore and white clean sand is a future destination for tourism. The natural habitat of the sea shore with some added infrastructure such as entertainment facilities has the prospect of being one of the attractive tourist destinations in the region and the country. Berasole and the island of Hawa Gudr with their spectacular landscape rich in Mangrove trees and plenty of colorful flamingo birds are eye catching places of attraction. Asgoma besides its clean beach and white sand is a breading place for sea turtles, precious sea animals which are on the verge of extinction in the world. When the tour participants to the Southern Red Sea region reached Asgoma they were very much fascinated by the variety of colors of the stones. Red, white, purple and added with the sea and sand colors they give unique image to the area. Eidi with its plain location, sea breathe that cools the atmosphere is also a historical place.

In Eidi we fi nd an ancient Mosque Sherif Ali, according to the people from the area, which was built in around 1861. The Mosque was built with coral. The Mosque has been recently renovated with an alien material to the original coral and is loosing its originality. This phenomenon of renovating historical sites with out consulting professionals in the field is dangerous that should be avoided and controlled by all concerned so that history would not be destroyed but passed to posterity. Miedir, which is nearby Edi, is believed to have been the crossing point of the second batch of the followers of Prophet Mohammed in 1400 from Saudi Arabia to Eritrea. Miedir possesses water wells believed to have been built from 8 to 10th century AD. Theremains of ancient house utensils such as water containers (amphora), buried residential houses and other items scattered on the ground are evidences that the inhabitants of the area had commercial links with the people from the other side of the sea, Yemen, and with people as far as present day Somalia. Norah, a small village on the edge of the Red Sea, half way between Eidi and Tio, is a wonderful place where the regional administration in cooperation with concerned government institutions has a near future plan to make it tourism village. Upon the realization of the plan there is no doubt that the area will attract local and international tourists. The last destination of the tour was to Tio and its environs. Tio which has ancient history of its own is the first town to have electricity power supply in the region after independence.

During the Ethiopian regimes occupation of Eritrea Assab was the only city receiving electricity power supply in the region. The supply, in most cases was confined to selective and privileged areas of the city mostly to the residential areas and offices of the occupation officials. Nearby Tio are Ras Hafele and Sahel (Dankalia) known for their long and clean beaches and for the existence of large amount of shrimp fish. This type of fish is highly wanted throughout the world and the area has the prospect of becoming fish exporting place. Duhtum a strategic place where the invading army of the TPLF regime in its foolish attempt to enter Assab was foiled and crashed by the gallant Eritrean Defense Forces is another place of interest. As usual the TPLF regime gave its invading army a promise of easily penetrating the area fooling them with lies that were not on the ground. They were, however, met with strong resistance and crashing Eritrean Defense Forces and experienced a blow and their spine broke to the contrary to that they were told by their mischievous leaders, and that was where their spirit and moral of fighting was evaporated. Even in their terms the place is named Aimoker, meaning impenetrable. The tour participants very much appreciated the details given to them by L/Colonel Ghirmation Yohannes (Hatseynet).  What I have tried to write about the Southern Red Sea region in terms of its tourism attraction sites is a portion of what the region holds. There are many more historical places and areas of wander that should be uncovered and details remaining of what I have wrote about. Historians and especially people interested with historical places and antiquities should try to visit the region and discover what is there waiting to be studied and documented if not for the near future of tourism industry development in the region but also for posterity.

The Sultanate of Rahaita and its history with the remains of the ancient village, Maebele and its rock inscriptions, the natural volcanic vapor in Siroru, are some of the many that need attention. Assab itself with its history of being the first to fall under foreign rule and the last to see and breathe freedom; may be some evidences of the treaty made with the priest Giuseppe Sappeto and others would have a great impact in the history of the region. Ismael Musa head of region’s National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students, Ibrahim Dereder from the office of PFDJ of the region, have done to the level of their capacity to explain the history of the places the tour participants visited. The tour participants have been very much grateful for their efforts to acquaint the region with the tour participants in the hope that in return the participants tell others through different mediums available about the rich natural and man made resources, the history, and historical sites of Southern Red Sea region, the land of Dankalia, and contribute their share in promoting the tourism industry of the region.

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