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Aksum

Country
Ethiopia
State
The State of Tigray
City
Aksum
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

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Places to Visit
How to Reach

By Air

Given the often trying conditions of Ethiopian roads,flying into Aksum is a much more reasonable option.There are daily flights from Addis Ababa to the small and rural, but well-functioning Aksum airport. Some flights are direct, others make stops along the way.At the airport, there will be taxis eager to drive you into town.Many hotels also offer van service to and from the airport.

By Bus

Buses from Addis Ababa take a minimum of three days to make the journey via Dessie and Mekele. It is a very taxing bus ride over rough roads.From Gondar, take the dawn bus to Shire and change there for Aksum you can usually get through in a day.To travel to Gondar, you must take an afternoon bus to Shire, spend the night there, and catch the dawn bus to Gondar.The road between Shire and Gondar is one of the most spectacular in Ethiopia.

Key places to visit
Church Of St. Mary Of Zion, King Ezana's Stele, Ark of the Covenant, Dungur, Lioness of Gobedra, Ezana park, Monastery of Abba Pantaleon, Ezana Stone


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Places to Visit

Church Of St. Mary Of Zion

Ethiopian legend has it that the Church is the repository of the Ark of the Covenant (the subject of the controversial The Sign and the Seal), which is said to have been stolen (with God's will) from the temple of Jerusalem by Menelik I, Solomon's own son by the legendary Queen of Sheba. Unfortunately for visitors, the chapel in which the Ark is secreted away is not accessible to anyone, even the Ethiopian emperors.Pilgrims flock here on Hidar 21 (November 30).The high entrance fee is deterring, but sometimes the guards let you have a look from the outside without having to pay. There are two churches in the compound: the old church, which was built by Emperor Fasiladas in 1665, and a new church built in the 1960s by Haile Selassie.

King Ezana's Stele

Is the central obelisk still standing in the Northern Stelae Park (containing hundreds of smaller and less decorated stelae) in the ancient city of Axum, in modern-day Ethiopia.This stele is probably the last erected one and the biggest of those remained unbroken.King Ezana's Stele stands 70 feet (21 m) tall,smaller than the fallen 108-foot (33 m) Great Stele and the better-known 79-foot (24 m), so-called,Obelisk of Axum (reassembled and unveiled on September 4, 2008).At its base it is decorated with a false door,and apertures resembling windows on all sides.

Ark of the Covenant

Is a chest, described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed.According to some traditional interpretations of the Book of Exodus, Book of Numbers,and Book of Hebrews the Ark also contained Aaron's rod and a jar of manna. However, Books of Kings is categoric in declaring that the Ark contained only the two Tablets of the Law.According to the Book of Exodus, the Ark was built at the command of God, in accordance with the instructions given to Moses on Mount Sinai.God was said to have communicated with Moses "from between the two cherubim" on the Ark's cover.Rashi and some Midrashim suggest that there were two arks a temporary one made by Moses himself, and a later one constructed by Bezalel.

Dungur

Is known locally and popularly as the Palace of the Queen of Sheba (i.e. the Palace of Makeda in Ethiopia).However,Stuart Munro-Hay describes it as "the sort of dwelling that a prosperous Aksumite,perhaps a noble or high official of the fourth to sixth centuries AD,might have constructed for himself.Dungur is the name of the ruins of a substantial mansion located in the western part of Aksum, Ethiopia, the former capital of the Kingdom of Aksum.These ruins are located in the western part of Aksum, across the Gondar road from the Gudit Stelae field.

Lioness Of Gobedra

Is a representation of a crouching lioness, about 3 meters long, carved in relief on a large rock outcropping. First described by German archeologists in 1913, this carving is located two kilometers west of Axum, Ethiopia.The reason for this isolated stone carving is unknown,but the subject of much speculation.A local story, according to Philip Briggs,is that Archangel Michael was attacked by a lion here, and "he repelled the lion with such force it left an outline in the rock."Not far away is a quarry, where the stelae that adorn Axum is thought to have been carved from, containing and a partially-carved example.

Ezana Stone

Is an artifact from the ancient Kingdom of Aksum.It is a stone monument which documents the conversion of King Ezana to Christianity and his subjugation of various neighboring peoples, including Meroe.It is currently preserved in situ in King Ezana's Park, a public space in central Axum, Ethiopia.From AD 330 to 356 King Ezana ruled the ancient Aksumite kingdom in the Horn of Africa. Ezana fought against the Nubians and recorded his victories on stone written in Geez (the ancient Ethiopian language),Sabaean (South Arabian) and Greek praising God for his victories.His carvings in stone provided a trilingual monument in different languages,similar to the Rosetta stone.

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