Tank Cemetery of Asmara

Tank Cemetery of Asmara.  In the near outskirts of Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, lays an odd site.  Hundreds and hundreds of vehicles are stacked upon each other.  Many of them are military vehicles and tanks.  Many of these war machines are spoils of war with Eritrea’s current day neighbor, Ethiopia.

Tank Cemetery of Asmara Tank Cemetery of Asmara Tank Cemetery of Asmara

Eritrea became part of a federation headed by Ethiopia after WWII.  Overtime, Eritrea’s independence diminished as Ethiopia increased its influence and power.  Starting in 1961, a fight for independence began, as Eritrea struggled for its freedom.  In 1991 in Ethiopia, the Marxist Derg government was overthrown by rebel parties.  And this coincided with military victories over the deflated Ethiopian forces by the Eritreans. In a referendum in 1991, Eritreans voted overwhelmingly for their independence.  This is the longest war fought in Africa in the 20th century.  There were over 200,000 casualties.    

Tank Cemetery of Asmara Tank Cemetery of Asmara Tank Cemetery of Asmara

A monument to the Eritrean’s victory and independence is the sprawling tank cemetery. 

Tank Cemetery of Asmara Tank Cemetery of Asmara Tank Cemetery of Asmara

Our bus rolled to a stop on the orange colored soil.  I and my fellow travelers sprinted out of the bus, cameras locked and loaded.  Our excitement grew as we spotted the tank cemetery for the first time as we pulled up.  A wall of tanks and other vehicles, stacked deep.  The vehicles formed a long perimeter acting like a fence. 

Tank Cemetery of Asmara Tank Cemetery of Asmara Tank Cemetery of Asmara

As soon as we started snapping photos, we were halted.  Several guards with AK-47s lazily slung over their backs dressed in a smorgasbord of camouflage approached our group.  We abruptly learned we needed a permit to be there.  Eritrea is a ruled by a one-party repressive government.  And the Eritrean government loves permits. 

Tank Cemetery of Asmara Tank Cemetery of Asmara Tank Cemetery of Asmara

We were herded back into the bus, but discovered our tire had become punctured.  The guards hustled us out of the bus and directed us to start walking.  Dusk settled and we frustratedly left the tank cemetery.  I noticed we were not alone.  The group was being trailed by the AK-47 toting guard.  He followed us for 20 minutes.  I was a bit surprised at how proactive this guard was. 

Tank Cemetery of Asmara Tank Cemetery of Asmara

The next day as we discovered downtown Asmara, we received a call that we had been awarded a permit for the tank cemetery.  We rushed back.  This time we were allowed to explore briefly before dusk fell.  Cactus mixed with destroyed tanks.  These vehicles stretched dozens of feet high.   

Tank cemetery of Asmara, a monument to Eritrea’s independence. 

If you want to learn about Africa’s most awesome train experience, or the beautiful faces of Eritrea!

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4 thoughts on “Tank Cemetery of Asmara

  1. Pingback: War Tourism In Eritrea.GlobalGaz

  2. Eulalia Maldonado

    My son will make a school work with turist information about Eritrea. We dont find if these wonderful places has charge for visit. If someone tell me if these places are free of charges or the dollar cost that presume? yayitamn1@gmail.com …I appreciate your help!!

    1. Ric Gazarian Post author

      Hi…for instance for the tank cemetery there is no ticket or admission but you need to have a permit issued by the government. You need to work with a local tourism company to help you get the permit. There is a fee but I do not know the cost.

  3. Pingback: The Awe of Eritrea: A different side of Africa | Young Pioneer Tours

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