Axum, Ethiopia

The city of Axum or Aksum was the capital of the Axum Empire. It is not well known to westerners but in its time it was immensely powerful with a near monopoly on Indian ocean trade between Greece and India. It was described as one of the four great powers by the Persian poet Mani along with Greece, Persia, and China. Greek was widely spoken in Axum and this helped bring Christianity to Ethiopia in 325 AD making Ethiopia one of the first and oldest Christian nations.

Today Axum is famous for it’s ancient Stelae, which resemble Obelisks. These narrow towers just into the sky. Their exact meaning is unknown but the leading theory is that they marked tombs of important people. The Kingdom of Axum stopped producing stelae when Christianity became the official religion so the remaining Stelae are nearly two thousands years old.

We did not spend a lot of time here, because our main goal was explore the cliffside churches of Tigray. The time we did spend was pleasant and Axum was unlike anywhere else that we visited in Ethiopia.

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Scott Dusek is a writer and photography originally from Seattle, Washingon.

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