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DE'KEMHARE in our era DECAMERE

Edition of February 27, 2012

Historical note I lifted from somewhere: "Akele Guzai; The other main road from Asmara to Ethiopia passes through the towns of Dekemhare, Adi Qayeh and Senafe. There are archaeological ruins at Qohaito and Matera."  Wikipedia Feb 27, 2012: "Qohaito was a pre-Aksumite city that thrived during the Aksumite period. Located over 2,500 meters above sea level in the Debub region of Eritrea, on a high plateau at the very edge of the edge of the Great Rift Valley, As of 2011, Qohaito's ruins have yet to be excavated. The ancient port of Adulis lies directly to the east."
 

Decamere main street on a weekday, May 1954 Decamere side street where a few Italians lived in a largely deserted town. Airstrip at Gura, west of Decamere, successively occupied by Italians, British, and Americans. All buildings have been carried away by locals but markings in English could be seen on the paved strips. Left to right Gerry Mande1, Bill Scheafer, George Rees, and Walter Henry. We signed out for the 2 1/2 ton truck for our trip to Senafe.  We imagined visions of Spitfires, Lancasters and Mustangs roaring down the strip, not being familiar with Italian aircraft. 
Apparently a fascist symbol in wilderness near Decamere. Probably for a nearby camp/outpost since  we found fragments of a foundation, the rest  hauled off to supplement   building. Hotel on way into Axum. Photo by Steve Noble '63-'64 who stayed there and photo'd jewels of the  Queen of Sheba
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Town south of Decamere on Strada Imperiale.  Very ornate yard behind a coptic church and tower shortly beyond the town south of Decamere. Hill on the Strada Imperiale I had to climb on the 35 kilometres back to Asmara. Long bicycle rides are not advisable in Eritrea. The road was built in 1938 by the Italians connecting Asmara and Addis Abeba. Used by their army for a rapid retreat to Asmara.  Coptic chapel north of Decamere.
Neat Eritrean police force training camp a bit south of Decamere. Sharply dressed squad is falling out for drill to commands given in English.  Henry and Rees with his 30-06,fortunately not used in bagging the rabbit which we gave to an American missionary family in Senafe. We had an ice locker on the truck. George Rees,left with his 38, Walt Henry on right with his 22 firing at road markers. Bus and truck traffic on the Strada Imperiale was relatively heavy by Ethiopian standards. Walt Henry (NJ) on right.
Very rugged landscape. With steep hills and deep valleys, going off this road would be a disaster. Kids chanting and beating drums in our honour as we passed through Saganetti a.k.a. Segheneyti, south of Decamere, reputed hideout of wealthy shifta leaders. Town of Adi Akai south of Saganetti. Our appearance causing quite a stir. Another Coptic church south of Saganetti off the Strada Imperiale.
View of our truck from church tower. Sunset on the Strada Imperiale. Sunset at 8500 ft altitude north of our destination Senafe. Columns in ruins of Axumite town Cohaito (Qohaito), north of Adi Keyih Ruins, Eritrea. Photo by Dick Lillienthal, circa 1952.
 
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