The 120 churches represent a crucial link b/n Axum and Lalibela chronologically, artistically and technically. Local tradition attributes most of the churches to the 4th century; Axumite kings Abreha & Atsebha as well as the 6th century rulers. Most historians date them b/n the 9th & 15th centuries.
Most of the churches are located in groups or clusters. Gheraltha cluster with the highest numbers of churches considered the most important while Tekatesfai only 3kms east of the Mekelle- Adigrat road is the most accessible. Other famous clusters are Tembien, Wukiro & Atsbi.