Aksum - The Cradle Of Ethiopian Civilization

By Jenna Jolie

Aksum in Ethiopia was an ancient kingdom of Africa. It is sometimes called the Kingdom of Axum or Ancient Ethiopia.

What is Aksum?

What was the kingdom of Aksum known for?

Aksum, also spelled Aksum, was a powerful kingdom in northern Ethiopia during the early Christian era.

Despite common belief, Aksum by contrast did not originate from one of the Semitic Sabaean kingdoms of southern Arabia but instead developed as a local power. At its apogee (3rd–6th century C.E.), Aksum became the greatest market of northeastern Africa; its merchants traded as far as Alexandria and beyond the Nile River. Aksum continued to dominate the Red Sea coast until the end of the 9th century, exercising its influence from the shores of the Gulf of Aden to Zeila on the northern coast of Somaliland (modern Somalia and Djibouti).

What is Aksum known for

It was the historical capital of the Aksumite Empire, a maritime and trade force that governed the whole area from 400 BCE until the 10th century. Because of its historical significance, UNESCO inscribed Aksum's archaeological sites on the list of World Heritage Sites in 1980.

When was Aksum founded?

The ancient city of Aksum's remains may be discovered near Ethiopia's northern border. They indicate the site of the Kingdom of Aksum, the most powerful monarchy between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia in ancient Ethiopia. The colossal remains, which date from the first to the thirteenth century A.D., feature monolithic obelisks, giant stelae, royal tombs, and the foundations of old fortresses. Ethiopian monarchs were crowned at Aksum long after the country's political demise in the 10th century.

The Obelisk was discovered semi-submerged in a hole by a squad of Italian troops in 1935, and after more than two years in limbo, it was taken to Rome as a booty of war.

Aksum is an old kingdom of Africa that attracts many tourists

Aksum is an old kingdom of Africa that attracts many tourists

How tall is Aksum obelisk

Aksum is located in the Tigray Region's Central Zone, near the Adwa Mountains. It is located at an elevation of 2,131 meters (6,991 feet) and is flanked by La'ilay Mayhew, a Tigray region independent of any other woreda.

Top best things you have to try around Aksum

1. Pay a visit to the Church of Our Lady of Zion

It is a Tewahedo Ethiopian Orthodox church. It is one of Ethiopia's most prominent churches. This architectural marvel has been demolished and rebuilt twice and is a fantastic visual treat.

Emperor Haile Sellasie kindly built what you'll see. This church is a popular pilgrimage site, especially during the Tsion Mariam Festival. What makes this church truly unique is its claim to possess the genuine Ark of the Covenant. The ark was apparently relocated to the Chapel of the Tablet, which is close to the ancient church since the divine heat from the tablets had broken the stone of its original sanctuary! Nothing is more intriguing than this. You may easily lose an hour and a half appreciating the beauty and taking in the holy force that vibrates through the tinted glass.

2. The Tablet Chapel

It is said to guard the Ark of the Covenant, which is guarded by a virgin who is unable to leave the building. Except for its caretaker, the Ark is hidden in the tombs and has never been seen by a live person.

The guardian is always a virgin, appointed by the previous guardian before his or her death. Every year, thousands of pilgrims from all over the world visit the Chapel and can only see the Ark from beyond the crimson gate. What's the best part? The Chapel of the Tablet is located immediately adjacent to Our Lady of Zion Church.

Tablet Chapel is an interesting attraction that travelers should visit

Tablet Chapel is an interesting attraction that travelers should visit

3. Put yourself to the test using ancient inscriptions

The stone inscription of Monarch Inzana exists as a stone monument on which the great king commemorated his tremendous combat wins.

Three farmers discovered this monument in 1988 and brought it to the attention of the public. The inscription is written in three languages. If you truly want to hear King Inzana tell combat stories, hire a guide and go for it!

4. Participate in Timket: The Festival of Lights

Timket festivities are conducted throughout the country, with Gonder serving as the epicenter. Timket is the celebration of Jesus' baptism on the Jordan River.

You should surely change your plans and spend some time admiring the vividly colorful parades. The whole population of Gonder takes to the streets, forming a single live wire that illuminates the city. Witness priests in ecstasy dancing, drums thumping, and people chanting and dancing all around you. These recollections will be imprinted in your mind like the colors on the back of your eyelids.

5. Visit Lalibela's churches

The UNESCO World Heritage Site with eleven rock-hewn cathedrals is a must-see. It is the world's largest monolithic church. You could easily spend an entire day here.

Lose yourself in Lalibela's complex stone edifice, wandering through secret stone halls and passageways going above and underneath. The elaborate, creative stone construction will certainly perplex you.

Lalibela’s churches is one of the historical sites that are listed in UNESCO World Heritage

6. Northern Stellae Park

Prepare to witness something you've never heard of or seen before. The old rulers' stellar or burial monuments may be found in this park.

More from King Enzana's stele is a towering obelisk in the center of this park. This Park contains a plethora of stellae that are much shorter and inconspicuous compared to the towering Enzana stellae. Northern Stellae Park is a beautiful, glorified graveyard that you will enjoy exploring.

7. Raid King Kaleb's and Gebre Meskal's graves.

These tombs, located a few kilometers from Stellae Park, house King Kaleb and his son Gebre. What better way to spend the day than tomb raiding?

These tombs feature uneven forms, self-locking stones, and no iron clamps, which adds to their allure and sophistication. The joints between the stones of the Gebre Meskal tomb are unique in their precision. Aksumite coins and sarcophagi can be found inside the graves.

8. Buy some of the baskets from the market.

On a bright Saturday morning, make your way to Aksum's center plaza, where a sea of colorful baskets awaits you just beneath the massive fig tree. When the holidays are approaching, Ethiopians commonly use these baskets to stock up on injera.

These brilliant baskets are presented to virgin brides as wedding presents. Basket weaving is quite popular among Aksum's lovely ladies clad in white. Baskets come in a variety of forms and sizes to meet your specific needs. A brightly colored basket is the ideal souvenir for remembering this beautiful location.

9. Sample Ethiopian cuisine!

The Ethiopian cuisine at Aksum will have you licking your fingers and smacking your lips. Wrap spicy Doro wat in injera and finish with a cup of strong, traditional Ethiopian coffee.

Ethiopian coffee is said to be of the highest quality in the entire globe. The traditional coffee ritual will enhance the flavor of the black drink. It's more than simply a morning beverage here. Coffee is an experience.

10. Have a walk on Stelae Fields

In a vast meadow in Aksum's northern outskirts, a series of obelisks or stelae towers menacingly. These monuments have stood tall and strong since the third century because they are formed of nepheline syenite, a weather-resistant rock that most likely came from the Wuchate Golo mines to the west of Aksum.

The disparity in size and elegance demonstrates the importance of the social ladder at the time. You can clearly see that the tallest one is unquestionably royalty.

Stelae Fields is where only the ruins remain but is a beautiful place to check in

Stelae Fields is where only the ruins remain but is a beautiful place to check in

11. Pentalewon, Abba

Abba Pentalewon is a tranquil monastery on the Mai Qoho hill that overlooks Aksum. To get here, walk through the graves of King Kaleb and Gebre Mekal.

According to history, this monastery was erected by a man who had spent 40 years of his life praying nonstop. This is also where King Kaleb retired after abdicating the kingdom. This monastery was built to eliminate heathen ideas.

12. Climb the Simien Mountains

The cry of the Ethiopian wilderness has arrived! A trek into the Simien Mountains will provide you with the most stunning sights, and if you're lucky, the Ethiopian wolf may stop by to say hello.

The Simien Mountains are readily conquerable by people of all fitness levels. The mountain crest offers a panoramic vista of lush vegetation and animals. Many people would consider this to be the ideal soul-rejuvenating exercise.

Fast facts to know a little more about Aksum

  • Northern Ethiopia still has the city of Axum. Just over 50,000 individuals call this relatively modest city home.

  • It is one of Africa's oldest cities still inhabited today.

  • There was no mortar used in the construction of the stone structures at Aksum. The stones were instead cut to fit closely together.

  • Greek was typically employed as the common language since traders came to Aksum from all over the world to conduct business.

Aksum is one of the best tourist attractions in Ethiopia

Aksum is one of the best tourist attractions in Ethiopia

What are the finest things to do in Aksum?

There are many fascinating things to do in Aksum, Ethiopia. The following are some of the greatest things to do:

  • A day trip to Aksum City

  • Aksum trek to Danakil Depression

  • Tigray Churches Day Trip

  • Hiking in the Simien Mountains

What is Aksum well-known for?

They symbolized the location of ancient Ethiopia's heart when the Kingdom of Aksum ruled between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. The colossal remains date from the first to twelfth century A.D. and feature gigantic obelisks, giant stelae, royal tombs, and old fortress ruins.

What did Aksum eat?

By the end of the millennium, these proto-Ethiopians were growing sorghum and herding cattle. By the first or second millennium B.C., they were eating sorghum, barley, wheat, and maybe teff, as well as numerous other grains, vegetables, and pulses (lentils, fava beans, peas, chickpeas, and more).

Why should you go to Aksum?

To begin with, Aksum is one of the nine UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ethiopia, the most of any African country. It's also a nice, safe tiny town with a dynamic living culture that can be seen across the region.

The journey to discover Aksum in Ethiopia and the history of the once glorious Aksum empire will be an extremely interesting and authentic experience if you visit Ethiopia with your own eyes. At that time, the monumental monuments, beautiful scenes, and artifacts are really alive. 

You only need a few simple steps to apply for an e-Visa and travel insurance for your adventure. Then pack your bags and go. Apply now at the Ethiopia Immigration Service's online application and hit the road!