|Elevation||1,972 m (6,470 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+3 (EAT)|
Wukro (Tigrigna: ውቕሮ) (also known as Wukro Kilte Awulaelo; Tigrigna: ውቕሮ ክልተ ኣውላዕሎ) (also transliterated Wuqro; formerly known as Dongolo (Ge'ez: ዶንጎሎ) is a town and separate woreda in Tigray, Ethiopia. It's located along Genfel River, in the Misraqawi (Eastern) zone of the Tigray region on the Asmara-Addis Ababa highway (Ethiopian Highway 2). 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" (Ge'ez: ዶንጎሎ) to the Tigrigna word for a structure carved from the living rock, Wukro.
Wukro has been inhabited for millennia. Archaeological digs have found inscriptions from between the sixth and eighth century B.C. The place is part of the ancient trade route (particularly for salt) linking the Red Sea with inner Ethiopia, all the way to Lasta. It is said to be the location of the tomb of seventh-century Ethiopian king who hosted Muhammed and his followers. It has many rock hewn churches. The place is named in many old Ge'ez sources, including those about the thirteenth-century Ethiopian king Lalibela, the sixteenth-century king Zär'a Ya'eqob, and the seventeenth-century king Susenyos.
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."
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. 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; another notable landmark is the more recent church Wukro Giyorgis Bete.
During the Italian occupation, in 1938, there were shops and a hotel-restaurant, a car service station, a telephone and telegraph office and a health post. It was qualified as an “Italian town under development”. Many of these buildings are still present, just south of the bridge. Francesco Baldassare started a mill in Wukro, but abandoned it when the Italians were defeated in 1941. 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. 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.
- On 8 April 1988: about 100 killed
- On 13 April 1988: 31 killed
- On 29-30 April 1988: 25 killed
- On 3 May 1988: 20 killed
In the early 21st century, the town of Wukro has known a remarkable growth.
- Bombing of Wukro, on 16 November 2020: 14 civilians killed
- November 2020 Wukro massacre, on 27-28 November 2020: 220 civilians killed
- December 2020 Wukro massacre, on 30 December 2020: 12 civilians killed
- February 2021 Wukro massacre, on 10 February 2021: 18 civilians killed
- March 2021 Wukro massacre, on 14 March 2021: 5 civilians killed
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).
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.
In 1938, the town counted 368 inhabitants (including 78 Italians).
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.
- Like many proper names in Ethiopia, there are a number of transliterations of this name into English. David Buxton lists the many ways Wukro "has been variously spelt: Agroo, Corou, Oucro, Ouquo, Ucro, Ouaqero, Oukero, Ouogro, Uogro, Woghuro, Wogro, Waqro, and Weqro. Some of these forms...are influenced by French or Italian spelling conventions" The Abyssinians (New York: Praeger, 1970), p. 16
- David W. Phillipson, Ancient Churches of Ethiopia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), p. 94
- Smidt, Wolbert. "Wəqro." In Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: O-X: Vol. 4, edited by Siegbert Uhlig, 1180-81. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2010.
- Claude Lepage, Jacques Mercier, Églises historiques du Tigray, Art éthiopien (Addis Ababa 2005, 86–89).
- Teweldemedhin Josief, The Monolithic Churches of Tigray (Addis Ababa 1970).
- Francisco Alvarez, The Prester John of the Indies, translated by C.F. Beckingham and G.W.B. Huntingford (Cambridge: Hakluyt Society, 1961), pp. 176ff
- Philip Briggs, Ethiopia: The Bradt Travel Guide, 3rd edition (Chalfont St Peters: Bradt, 2002), p. 239
- David Buxton, Travels in Ethiopia, second edition (London: Benn, 1957), p. 126; David Phillipson, Ancient Churches, p. 94
- Consociazione turistica Italiana. Guida dell'Africa orientale Italiana. Milano. p. 300.
- "Local History in Ethiopia" The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 6 December 2007)
- Paul B. Henze, Layers of Time: A History of Ethiopia (New York: Palgrave, 2000), pp. 250f
- Africa Watch, Ethiopia: "Mengistu has Decided to Burn Us like Wood": Bombing of Civilians and Civilian Targets by the Air Force, 24 July 1990, p. 10
- Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas of the humanitarian situation
- "Sheba Tannery Plc", EFFORT website
- "Kuwait Loans Ethiopia EUR45 Million For Electricity, Roads - Report", Addis Live website, 21 July 2009 (accessed 19 August 2009)
- Census 2007 Tables: Tigray Region, Tables 2.1, 2.4, 2.5 and 3.4.