Sightseeing in Axum

stele fieldThe most striking relics of Axum are its obelisks or stelae . They are made from single blocks of granite carved to represent multi-storey buildings. The tallest, now fallen, once stood more than 33 meters high and numbered 13 storeys. The highest obelisk still standing is 10 storeys and 24 meters tall. The carving is deep and precise, showing the beams for each floor and the windows. Another stele looted by the Italian army was only returned to Ethiopia in 2005 and is due for reinstallation. Other local historical sites include the graves of king Kaleb and king Gabre Meskel , the Bath of the Queen of Sheba , and the ruins of the vast Royal palace ,the Archaeological museum ,Ezana Garden ,King Bazen's Tomb ,King Ezana's Inscription. Aksum was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1980

The Stale field

stele fieldThe most striking relics of Axum are its obelisks or stelae . They are made from single blocks of granite carved to represent multi-storey buildings. The tallest, now fallen, once stood more than 33 meters high and numbered 13 storeys. The highest obelisk still standing is 10 storey’s and 24 meters tall. The carving is deep and precise, showing the beams for each floor and the windows. Another stele looted by the Italian army was only returned to Ethiopia in 2005 and is due for reinstallation

Saint Mary Zion Church

axum tsionSt. Mary of Zion is built on the site of a much older church dating from the fourth century AD. Only a platform and the wide stone steps remain from the earlier structure. The Cathedral is a repository for crowns belonging to some of Ethiopia’s former emperors. According to legend, it also houses the original Ark of the Covenant – thus making St. Mary’s the holiest sanctuary in Ethiopia.

Tombs of King Kaleb and King Gebre Meskel

tomb 2These tombs are attributed to the 6th century King Kaleb and his son King Gebre Meslkel. King Kaleb is one of Aksum’s most important rulers who succeeded in bringing south Arabia under Aksumite dominion. Both tombs have similarity in design. They can be taken as good examples of the portrayal of the building techniques and sophistication of Aksumite Architecture. These polished blocks and building styles are compared ( by a 19th century British traveler Theodore Bent ) to one of the best sites in Greece. One is led in to the interior of the tomb by a steep stairway that is constructed using massive and refined blocks of stones that fit perfectly with each other.

King Ezana's Inscription

inscriptAs you drive to the tombs of King Kaleb and Gebre Meskel,you will pass a little house containing this remarkeable finding-King Ezana's Inscription, which is almost identical to the inscription in King Ezana's Garden.It dates from between 330 AD and 350 AD.

This Inscription is a trilingual inscription that gives thanks to God for conquests in Saudi Arabia and it is believed to be from the time of King Ezana. A curse is contained within the inscription "the person who moves this stone will meet an untimely death" and so it remains exactly where it was found by a farmer in the 1980s.

 

The Archaeological Museum

axum museumIn the archaeological museum are contained fine and well-preserved ancient sabaean and early geez inscriptions and quite interesting variety of objects discovered in tombs-ranging from ordinary household objects such as drinking cup,lamps and insense burners, to sophisticated glassware including perfume bottles. Particularly the collection of Aksumite coins dating from the 4th to 6th century AD and the beautiful lion gargoyles plus the charming pot which is shaped like a three leged bird , are very interesting.

The Bath of Queen of Sheba

queen of shebaThe bowl-shaped Bath of Queen of Sheba, hewn out of solid rock is believed to postdate the queen by at least a millennium. Though some part of it is recently cemented, it still remains an outstanding piece of ancient engineering. For the ancient Aksumites, it was an important source of water. Today local women come to fetch water and wash their clothes. Further, it is used for celebrating the Epiphany by the local priests.


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