Tigray - Settlements

Tigray "parishes" equate with local communities and are the smallest units of administration for both the state and the Ethiopian Orthodox church, having a chief appointed from above. Priests and deacons are responsible to church authorities. Parishes range in population from 500 to 4,000 people. There is regional variation in settlement pattern: climatic conditions favor dispersed settlement of small hamlets across parishes where rainfall is relatively constant from year to year, and nucleated villages, one per parish, where rainfall is less predictable. Villages go through a process of dividing into quarters, which reunite when new, more powerful quarters try to dominate them. Depending on the phase of their life cycle, villages have two or three quarters. Houses range from wattle-and-daub huts to impressive masonry lime-domed or zinc-corrugated roofed edifices, depending on the family's economic success.

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