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Axum


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axum in tigray, ethiopia

Axum

Know More About Axum with these Facts

Axum is considered as the holiest Christian city in Ethiopia.

It is located in Northern Ethiopia and is about an hour's drive from the Eritrean Rama border post.

There is a 1,100 km route from the capital Addis Ababa via Bahir Dar and Gondar.

Axum was a major city and reached its height during the 1st and 10th centuries, it was known for being very prosperous and sophisticated having their own gold minted coins, etc.

Today, in witness of the past glories, we may see huge granite pillars, made from single blocks.

Some have fallen down through the ages and others still as they were built, standing upright.

The tallest is estimated to have been over 34 meters high (largest in the world) and weigh up to 500 tons.

While today the tallest standing is about 23 meters high.

Three of these structures which are estimated at 1,700 years old have finally been returned to Ethiopia after a 68 year absence.

The Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, in 1937, ordered the looting of these structures and took them to Rome, where they remained.

Despite a UN resolution in 1947 to return them to Ethiopia, but finally in 2004 they were separated into pieces and sent back. This cost the Italian government an estimated 6 million Euros or 4.1 million Pounds.

Other historical attractions include the holiest Christian sanctuary in Ethiopia, a 16th century Church of Saint Mary of Zion, which is said to contain the Ark of the Covenant (tablets on which Moses wrote the Ten Commandments).

The Pentalewon Monastery, were women are not allowed, The Grave of King Kaleb and King Gebre, the Bath of the Queen of Sheba and a museum make up other historical sites.

About 50 kilometers away from Axum, one will come across Yeha, the first known Ethiopian capital around the 5th century B.C. and the birth of Ethiopia's civilization.