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Stone columns of pre-Aksumite ruins at Qohaito.

Qohaito, also known as Kohaito,قوحيتو was an ancient city in the southern Debub region of Eritrea. It was a pre-Aksumite settlement that thrived during the Aksumite period. The town was located over 2,500 meters above sea level, on a high plateau at the edge of the Great Rift Valley. As of 2011, Qohaito's stone ruins have yet to be excavated. The ancient port city of Adulis lies directly to the east.


A tomb entrance on the Qohaito plateau (1965).

Rock art near Qohaito appears to indicate habitation in the area since the fifth millennium BC, while the town is known to have survived to the sixth century AD. Mount Emba Soira, Eritrea's highest mountain, lies near the site, as does a small successor village.

Rock art in the Adi Alauti cave

Qohaito is often identified as the town Koloe described in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, a Greco-Roman document dated to the end of the first century AD.[1] The settlement thrived as a stop on the trade route between Adulis and Aksum. It is thought that crops were interspersed with buildings in the town. These old edifices included the pre-Christian Temple of Mariam Wakino and the Sahira Dam, which might also be pre-Aksumite.[2]

The ruins at Qohaito were first located in 1868. However, they were at the time erroneously identified as a "Greek depot".[3] A related site outside of Senafe, Matara, lies about 15 kilometers to the south, and was excavated in the 1960s.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ G.W.B. Huntingford, Historical Geography of Ethiopia from the first century AD to 1704 (London: British Academy, 1989), pp. 38f
  2. ^ Phillipson, David (2012);Foundations of an African Civilisation: Aksum and the northern Horn, 1000 BC - AD 1300;ISBN 978-1847010414.
  3. ^ C. R. Markham, "Geographical Results of the Abyssinian Expedition", Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, 38 (1868), p. 23