Posted By on June 17, 2017

Axum and the surroundings

Axum believed to be founded in the 2nd century B.C and started to decline in the 700 A.D. 

Legend has said that the Abyssinian Queen, Queen Sheba heard the Wisdom of Solomon and went to Jerusalem, to visit him.

Makeda, as the queen is known in her home country, conceived from King Solomon while she stayed with him and, as a result born a son, Menelik I, king of Ethiopia.

Legend has it that Menelik I, the founder of the Solomonic Dynasty, traveled to Jerusalem to visit his father. Up on his return, he secretly brought the original Ark of the Covenant to Axum, and in fact, it was Azarias the son of Zadok, and one of the companions ordered by King Solomon to accompany the young Ethiopian who has brought the Ark of the Covenant to its final resting place in Axum on the will of God. 

Axum’s glorious civilization is best symbolized today by its many monolithic obelisks.  The first largest, though fallen are broken, is more than 33 meters in height and about 500 tons weight. Its four sides are richly decorated, and each represents facade of twelve Storey buildings. The second largest, stele was physically taken by the Italians during the unsuccessful attempt to colonize Ethiopia. It was erected in Rome for many years in front of the headquarters of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization near the site of the circus maximums but now returned back to Ethiopia and erected.  The third largest, still standing is 23 meters high showing a facade of nine Storeys.  

Tradition points out that the immense power of elephants was used in moving the stones. Nonetheless, these great relics, many of them still standing, are living testimonies to the unparalleled status Axum had once occupied in the world. 

Axum accepted Christianity as early as the 4th century AD and almost immediately built the church of St. Mary of Zion, the first in sub-Saharan Africa. King Ezana and Frumentius, Ethiopia’s first Bishop played the decisive role in the rapid Christianize of the country. Since then, Axum has become the most revered Christian city of Ethiopia. For the majority of Ethiopians, Axum is synonymous with Christianity and history.

Modern Axum is still eclipsed by ancient Axum. Queen Sheba’s bath, the Queen’s ruined palace, king Kaleb and Gebremeskel tombs and palace, the Ezana inscriptions. Many other legacies of the age-old history, culture, and religion of old Axum reflect what it has in the past and attract many tourists.
Axum is also very much known for its colorful religious ceremonies. The commemorative day of St. Mary of Zion is the most excited one. It occurs every year on 21st of Hidar (yearly on November 30th / December 1st in leap year). The occasion is always accompanied by rituals and dances. Axum is reached both by plane and land from Addis Ababa.

Axum stele

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