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Axum or Aksum
Axum is a major city in the Northern Ethiopia and a former
capital of the Aksum Kingdom. Ethiopians believe that Chapel of the Tablet
in Axum is a last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. It is believed
that protection of this religious artifact allowed Ethiopia to stay
independent from colonization by the outsiders. Regardless whether it is
true or not, one thing is for certain: it was the only country on the
continent that remained free from conquest.
Location: Tigray Province
Travel Destinations in Axum
Chapel of the Tablet (Axum)
Chapel of the Tablet is believed to be the final resting place of the Ark of
the Covenant. After the Babylonians captured Jerusalem the ark disappered.
The Bible left no traces of what actually happened to this religious
artifact. However Ethiopians believe that the ark was brought to Ethiopia to
a small monastery on the lake Tana. Ethiopian kings believed they were
descendents of king Solomon and Queen Sheba (First Kings 10-13), so it made
sense why the Ark with tablets of Moses were brought to Ethiopia. In the
ancient times Ethiopian kings were crowned here.
Unfortunately no one is allowed to see the ark itself and even gaze at it.
There are no exceptions to this rule. Only one man is allowed inside the
chapel. He takes care of the ark, but in return he can not leave the
premises of the church. He also has to keep a strict fast for the rest of
his life. It seems that the chapel has no security, but in fact many of the
people that are commonly seen around fence stand guard all the time. If you
try to approach the entrance to the chapel you will immediately realize that
all these resting people get from the ground and approach you. Particularly
impressive is celebration of Timket Festival (Ethiopian version of Epiphany)
that is held on January 7 when many pilgrims and priests held a service at
night surround by torches. Another important holiday is celebrated on
November 24 that is known as Festival of Maryam (Mary) Zion.
Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion (Axum)
Northern Stelae park (Axum)
One of the most impressive achievement of kingdom of Aksum was
construction of several obelisks. This tradition was probably
influenced by the Egyptians that lived to the North.
Ezana Stone (Axum)
Ezana stone is a documented historic account about life of Ethiopian
king Ezana. He ruled between 330 AD and 356 AD over kingdom of Aksum
and greatly increased its size by conquest of many neighboring
nations and tribes including Merow, Nubia, kingdom of Kush and many
others. He also is famous as a first ruled in the history of the
country to convert to Christianity along with his nation. As with
Rosetta stone in Egypt, Ezana Stone is written in several languages.
This include Greek, Ge'ez (ancient Ethiopian) and Sabaean (South
Queen of Sheba's Bath (Axum)
This large reservoir was actually designed to hold water rather than
serve as a bath for the royalty. In the ancient times it was part of
the massive palace complex that covered an area of 3250 square
meters. It is known locally as a Dungur or Dungu Addi Kilte. The
legend claims that it was erected by the orders of Queen of Sheba.
In the Old Testament of the Bible it is claimed that she travelled
to Jerusalem to met king Solomon, who became famous for his wisdom.
She met him and upon return to Ethiopia she gave birth to their son.