The city of Dekemhare located 40 Km south of Asmara was founded in the 15th century as a small-scale agricultural community. During the Italian colonialism took note of the importance of its location and devoted significant resources into developing the city as an important transportation center. As a result a major road was built connecting Dekemhare with Nefasit to connect it with sea transportation and they also built a number of contemporary services. Dekemhare was also a key agricultural center for the Italian East Africa, mainly with wine vineyards, pasta and bread factories.
Documents also tell us that during the Italian colonialism and for some years later annual wine festival was being conducted in Dekemhare. The one day long wine festival was attended by many Italians and the indigenous people from all over the country. The festival was solely dedicated to wine produced in the city.
Dekemhare as being very significant for its agricultural and industrial output added with its suitable climatic condition has the attraction of the Italian settlers. Hence, from 1936 onwards modern residential buildings were built that gave added color to the city. These modern building at the time are now art-deco buildings in the city that would make it tourist attraction. By 1938 Dekemhare had around 12,000 residents including 6,000 permanent Italian residents.
During World War II, as the British took control over the region, many of the Italian residents left. During that time the development of the city began to deteriorate. And after the Ethiopian regime took over Eritrea the industrial and agricultural products of Dekemhare became history. The Haileselasie regime as backward as it was turned the development of Dekemhare some decades back.
History tells us that the strategic location of Dekemhare has the attraction by major international companies to build factories including FIAT cars assembly line. That was stopped by the Ethiopian regime. The only reason for that was to deny the sustained industrial development of Eritrea and suppress the industrious mentality of Eritrean. Eritrea as part of Ethiopia should be equal with the other Ethiopian provinces in every aspect.
To add insult to injury the Ethiopian regime began removing major factories and relocates them to Ethiopia. The elite Eritreans who were able to maintain and run the agricultural facilities and industries were also transferred to Ethiopia. Thus killing the spirit and work ethic of Eritrean. With that Dekemhare was one of the major cities in the country affected by the ill motive of the Ethiopian regime.
After independence Dekemhare began to feel a new beginning. Factories have ben revived, major roads built and other social service provision institutions rendering services. Dekemhare to day is one of the very attractive cities in the country.
On August 17 the annual Eritrean festival will be staged in Dekemhare. During the festival which will be held for a week long there will be a big chance for displaying the history of Dekemhare. It is my hope that the experience of the past wine festival will be narrated and displayed for people to know the history and hopefully that will be revived and we conduct annual wine festival there and thereby paly a role in developing the agro-industry in the area.