Obelisk of Axum, Ethiopia

August 05 2015


A short flight from Gondar took me to the city of Axum, a giant riddle waiting to be solved. Driving through the streets, it was hard not to miss the enormous stone obelisks that towered into the sky in front of us. This was the Northern Stelae Field, Ethiopia’s biggest and most important field containing over 60 stelae from the 3rd & 4th Centuries AD.

Ranging in height from 1m to 33m, I couldn’t quite comprehend the sheer scale of these structures made from single pieces of granite. How did they get here? How were they intricately carved? How were they raised in one piece? The Great Stele unfortunately lies broken in the field & was thought to have fallen during its erection.

Pilgrims still journey to Axum in their thousands to pay homage at its great churches. I visited the huge new church of St Mary of Zion located opposite the Northern Stelae Field and was overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the building and the number of men & women present inside. Outside is a tiny guarded chapel where most Ethiopians believe the legendary Ark of the Covenant is housed but unfortunately as only one specially chosen guardian has access to the Ark, I didn’t get a peek!

Sabean Hotel located on the main street in Axum is a centrally located, comfortable accommodation choice. There are a number of hotels in the city, all of a similar standard including Yared Zema International & Yeha Hotel.

Next stop...Rock Church Wonders of Lalibela. Read On >

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