Exploring Tourism in Eritrea
icon Worldwideicon
Places to Visit Details

Tesenei City


Teseney (Tigrinya: ተሰነይ), also spelled Tessenei or Tesseney, is a market town in western Eritrea. It lies south-east of Kassala in Sudan, on the Gash River. The city was much fought over in the Eritrean War of Independence during which much of it was destroyed. After the war, Tessenei has become a governmental administrative center with customs and agricultural offices and a military base.

Teseney is located 45 kilometers from the Sudanese border and approximately 115 kilometers beyond Barentu. It is considered a frontier town on western Eritrea.The town is made up of people of various ethnic backgrounds. On the outskirts of Teseney to the north are a couple of hills from which there are exceptional views of the lowlands and mountains in Sudan. Also, farmers have been reporting of lions roaring in south of Teseney. In summer 2006, a young male lion was sighted and photographed, but since then, there has been no sighting and farmers do still report lions roars being echoed in the night.[citation needed] Monkeys and spotted hyenas form also part of Tessenei fauna, while acacia and Hyphaene thebaica palm locally known as Dom trees dominate its flora.[citation needed]
The name Tessenei with the diminutive of Seney, or Teseney, is not originally Tigrinya but Tigre, meaning “let it be nice to dwell”.[citation needed] It is also called Sabbot by its native local inhabitants. In 1929, it was called by the Italian colonizers the Village of Gasperini (named after the former colonial governor of Eritrea, a native of Treviso in Italy ).
Tessenei, is divided into several "Hillas" or districts / quarters, inhabited by different ethnic groups. There is in fact the Hillat Takarin which accommodates the ethnic group Takrour (originally emigrated Hausa and other clans from Nigeria hundreds of years ago), the Hillat Sudan (refers to the Sudanese community in the town) Hillat Halabit (inhabited by Beni Amer pastoralists); Hillat Somal (inhabited by Somalis, in the trading centre), built around a hill of granite blocks, just over 100 meter high, which separates it from the Hillat Takarin. There is small river that flows into the Gash: The stream Tadalay. Behind the hill runs an irrigation canal that takes water from the Gash, called Tur-a, (Arabic word for canal) and carries the waters from the stream to the lands cultivated with cotton, next to the village Ali Ghidir. The water supply is solved, thanks to a reservoir fed by a very old group of pumps (from the early 1930s) that draw water from the sands of the Gash. It is a huge deep basin, built on top on the small hill of granite, surrounded by old baobab trees. At the side of this large basin-tank, there was the Italian Civil Hospital, built in the 1920s, which for many years, has served the whole area near Tesseney, as far as the villages of Haikota, Gallug, Ali-Ghider, Talatahasher, Sabderat (villages bordering the Sudan), Sittimò, Aad Elit (village populated by about 1,000 individuals who speak a language all their own.


During the colonial period both Tessenei and the neighbouring village of Ali Ghider ( also written as Ali Gidir or Aligidir) were the center of a vast agricultural development project using the enormous quantity of waters of the Gash river.[1] The project dates back to 1905 when its first feasibility studies was forwarded by an Italian engineer called Nicola Coles. Works started in 1924 and included: a small dam and a tiny lake to store water (inaugurated in 1928 ) and numerous other works and a net of water irrigation canals to irrigate an approximately 10,000 hectares of land. An Italian agricultural-industrial company SIA, "Società Imprese Africane" (Company on African Enterprises), won this major concession.[1] Later a consortium of which "Cotonificio Barattolo", with its seat in Asmara became the main shareholder.The main crop was cotton, a variety of Sakellaridis, the same as cultivated in Egypt and the entire production was exported to Italy where it enjoys customs facilities. A plant for the treatment of cotton, a large mill for the processing of seeds, a power plant and a workshop complete the work, along with a modern factory for spinning and weaving cotton was built in Tessenei. During the Anglo-Egyptian condominium a narrow gauge line of railway was built connecting Tessnei with Kassala in Sudan via Malwaya conjunction. This line has almost vanished since the early 1960s.

Check out more Places to Visit