Introduction Asmara Tank Graveyard
Located in the heart of Eritrea’s capital city, Asmara, lies an unexpected and haunting testament to the region’s struggling past – the Asmara Tank Graveyard. This site, often referred to as the “tank cemetery,” stands as a silent witness to the conflicts and changes that have shaped Eritrea as a nation.
It is without a doubt the highlight of visiting Asmara as a tourist and must be included on everyone’s trip to Eritrea. When I discuss with my team here at Young Pioneer Tours, we all agree that this is the largest tank graveyard we know that exists on earth and open to the public (with proper permission and permits). But how did this Asmara tank graveyard come to be?
History of Asmara Tank Graveyard
The origins of the tank graveyard trace back to Eritrea’s struggle for independence, particularly during the Eritrean War of Independence (1961-1991) against Ethiopia. Asmara, with its strategic significance, partook in intense battles and military movements. The remnants of these conflicts, in the form of decommissioned military tanks, found their final resting place in this unusual cemetery.
Each tank in the graveyard carries its own story – a story of conflict, resilience, and the quest for self-determination. These decommissioned war machines, once instruments of destruction, now serve as symbols of a nation’s journey toward sovereignty.
Most of the tanks you’ll discover as we bring you to the Asmara tank graveyard a mostly Soviet equipment and military hardware as the country was backed mostly by the Soviet Union in the day.
Today, Eritrea has one of the world’s largest militaries, especially within the African region where military conscription is still included in the countries consitutation.
How to visit Asmara Trank Graveyard
You’d think a site like this would be out of bounds for foreign visitors to explore. However, the decision to retain these tanks rather than scrapping them speaks to a desire to preserve historical memory. The tank graveyard becomes a living museum, open to you, offering a tangible connection to Eritrea’s struggle for independence and the sacrifices made by its people.
We recommend every visitor to Asmara to stop by and take their time whilst exploring this area. It is absolutely huge! Even for those with a tiny interest will end up spending easily an hour walking around, and possibly climbing over what was once mighty and advanced military hardware.
The large gathering of rusting tanks, jets, artillery and other military vehicles against the backdrop of Asmara’s unique art deco architecture adds an eerie beauty to the landscape. The tanks, with their weathered exteriors, stand as silent witnesses to the passage of time, becoming unintentional pieces of industrial art.
Just like the Eifel Tower in Paris, or the Juche Tower in Pyongyang, there’s no further photographic evidence you’ll need to prove you have visited one of Africa’s least visited countries – and one that is most famous as being the “North Korea of Africa”.
Book your tour with YPT as we can easily arrange your Eritrea Visa on Arrival.