There are more than 150 rock hewn churches, including some that are older than the church in Lalibela, of which more than three quarters are still in active use. These churches can easily be explored with a vehicle or over a few days of hiking. Some of the churches, especially the finest ones are reached by long and steep walks that need a fair level of fitness. Carved into the sandstone cliff faces or outcrops, most of the rock hewn churches of Tigray retain an aura of isolation and mystery and many remain unexplored by foreigners.
The majority of these churches have very atmospheric interiors with walls decorated with old murals, paintings and relief carvings and every church has its own oral tradition, regarding its founding and excavation. The Gheralta region of Tigray has spectacular scenery and the largest concentration of rock hewn churches; AbunaYemata, Debre Tsion, and Mariam Korkor being the most famous.