Eritrea Holidays, Events, Climate and Sightseeing

Eritrea: holidays, events, climate

Public holidays

There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.

Date Holiday
January 1 New Year
6th January Epiphany
January Leddet (Orthodox Christmas)
2nd March Victory day of Adua
January February Timkat (Epiphany)
February March Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice)
8th of March International Women’s Day
March April Orthodox Easter
1st of May Labor Day
April May Mouloud (Prophet’s Birthday)
May 6 Victory day
Independence day
Day of the Martyrs
September 1 National holiday (start of the armed struggle)
September Kiddus Yohannes (Orthodox New Year)
September Meskel (Finding the True Cross)
November December Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan)
25 December Christmas

Source: Countryaah – Eritrea Holidays

The dates for the Islamic holidays are calculated according to the lunar calendar and therefore shift every year. During the fasting month of Ramadan, which precedes the festival day Eid al-Fitr, Muslims do not eat during the day, but only after sunset. Many restaurants are therefore closed during the day. The festivals Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr last 2-10 days depending on the region.

Cultural events

Fenkil, the day of remembrance of the liberation of the city of Massawa, is celebrated in mid-February. The ten-day Eritrea Festival with exhibitions, music and dances takes place at the beginning of August.

Eritrea: climate

Eritrea can be divided into two different climate zones.


On the coast, the average temperatures in summer, i.e. between May and September, are extremely hot. During the day in the north, they fluctuate between 38 – 40 °C. In the south, however, it is a little cooler. At night, temperatures in the north are between 24-27 °C. In the south it’s not that cold here. During the remaining months, temperatures drop and have reached their lows between December and January. During this time it is between 29 – 31 °C during the day in the north and 31 °C in the south. During the night, temperatures drop in the north to 19 – 20 °C and in the south to about 22 °C. Rainfall on the coast is limited to around 50-120 mm per year, most of which falls in the colder season between December and January.

Central highlands

The climate in the central highlands is colder and more rainy. The average daytime temperatures between March and July are only 26 °C, the rest of the time between 22 – 24 °C. During the night, temperatures drop to around 13 ° C from May to August and even to 6 °C from December to January. The annual rainfall is around 2,000 – 2,500 mm. It rains most between June and September. Hardly any precipitation falls from October to February.

Eritrea: sightseeing


Akkordat (Agordat)

This very Islamic city in the Eritrean region of Gash-Barka is after all the third largest city in Eritrea with its 30,000 residents. Akkordat is known for the second largest mosque in the country and for the banana plantations surrounding the city.

Asmara (Asmera)

Around 650,000 people live in the 2,300 meter high capital of Eritrea, and a total of 1,175,000 in the metropolitan area. Asmara, little more than a village until the end of the 19th century, received the function of a capital in 1900 and replaced Massawa in this position. Today’s cityscape is determined by an architectural mix of villas and office complexes, but also by the older Italian colonial buildings. In contrast to many other African cities, Asmara, the “southernmost Italian city”, also delights travelers with a very lively restaurant, bar and café atmosphere.

The old town of Asmara is Eritrea’s first World Heritage Site and was included in the list of in July 2017 Inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

As “Africa’s modernist city”, the buildings in particular that were built between 1893 and 1941 under Italian colonial rule and in the style of classical modernism have been included in the world heritage.

From 1935 onwards, an extensive construction program was implemented, including government, residential and commercial buildings, churches, synagogues, mosques, cinemas and hotels in the Italian style of the time.

The World Heritage Site comprises the area affected by the various phases of urban development between 1893 and 1941 and the original Arbate Asmera and Abbashawel districts that were not developed according to urban plans.


This once important city on the south-eastern edge of the Danakil region was Eritrea’s most important port for many years. The visitor to today’s city will find something completely different, namely a rather isolated place on the edge of the desert. However, a visit is worthwhile for the beautiful beaches that stretch out near Assab.


In the north of Eritrea is the city of Keren, which is known for its pretty Catholic churches. The city, which by the way is quite easy to reach from Asmara, also offers a very colorful and lively market where the everyday goings-on in Eritrea can be observed.


Massawa was once the most important city in Eritrea. The economic and cultural center, which was already important in ancient times, was even the capital of the country in the past. The city is still the most important natural deep sea port of the Red Sea. Architecturally, the cityscape of Massawa is characterized by narrow streets lined with white houses. The old town of Batsa and the Twalet district are located on an island and are connected to the mainland by dams.

Qohaito Qohaito is

in the south of Eritrea. The city with the somewhat Japanese-sounding name harbors architectural treasures that offer a good overview of Eritrea’s earlier history. This includes numerous temples and other prehistoric buildings.

Special structures

Batsa in Massawa

The old town on the island of the same name consists of Turkish and Egyptian buildings from the 15th to 18th centuries.

Farsi ruins near Baca and Bera’esoli

On the northeastern side island of Baca in the Red Sea and further south on the mainland near the village of Bera’esoli there are remains of former Persian settlements (Farsi).

Fort Baldissera in Asmara

This is a very interesting Italian fortress, which is enthroned on a hill in the southwest of the capital Asmara.


National Museum in Twalet/Asmara

The original building of the Ghibi (palace) dates from the 15th century and served as the residence of the Italian colonial rulers.

Theaters and opera houses

Asmara Opera House

The interesting Asmara Opera House can be found on Harnet Avenue, the capital’s main shopping street. The opera was completed in 1920 and impresses with its beautiful architecture.

Churches and mosques

Al Qulafa al Rashidin mosque in Asmara

The fascinating Al Qulafa al Rashidin mosque was built in 1937. The Islamic church, which was designed by an Italian architect, is in the capital Asmara. The Khulafa mosque is the largest Islamic place of worship in the country and was built from, among other things, Italian marble that had to be imported from Carrara.

Mosque of Akkordat (Agordat)

The second largest mosque in Eritrea is located in the Islamic city of Akkordat. The huge Islamic church was commissioned by Emperor Haile Selassi I and completed in 1963.

Saint Joseph’s Cathedral in Asmara

The truly imposing Bishop’s Church Saint Joseph is a Romanesque church building in the center of the capital of Eritrea. It was built when the country was still an Italian colony. The cathedral was completed in 1922 and now serves the Bishop of the Ethiopian Catholic Church. The cathedral is particularly architecturally characterized by a high, Gothic-style tower that extends 57 meters into the sky and can be climbed.


Barentu Market

In the city of Barentu in western Eritrea you can visit a very authentic Eritrean market, where all kinds of goods and products are offered. In no case should you forget to act, otherwise you will pay too much.

Medebar Market in Asmara

If you walk north from Asmara’s St. Joseph’s Cathedral, you come to the Medebar Market, a large conglomerate of stalls that offer everything for sale – from fruit and vegetables to wooden goods and clothing.

University of Asmara

The University of Asmara is located in the capital of Eritrea, a recently formally dissolved university that has existed since 1958. The official closure is related to a structural change in educational policy in the country, which provides for the establishment of so-called colleges across the country.

Prehistoric landmarks

Prehistoric sights in Harage

In the city of Harage you can see the oldest structures in all of Eritrea. These include barrows and megalithic stone blocks from the 8th and 11th centuries BC. Chr., But also stone boxes that refer to the 1st century BC. To be dated.

Natural beauties

Dahlak Islands

Of the total of 209 Dahlak Islands, just three are inhabited, as the remaining 206 islands are simply too dry to ensure a human existence. The interesting islands can almost only be reached with the help of organized tours from Massawa. The “exertions” are worthwhile, especially for diving fans, who have the wonderful diving grounds here almost to themselves.


The Danakil desert, which extends with a width of 50 kilometers over a length of 600 kilometers from Massawa.

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