Axum, also spelt ‘Aksum’ is believed to be Ethiopia’s oldest city, and is known for its massive, towering sculptures and huge granite pillars that are more than two thousand years old. Today, a visit is organized to these stelae: granite monoliths dating from pre-Christian times and decorated with symbolic engravings. In ancient times, there were seven stelae. During the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, Mussolini had taken one of them to Rome. It has since then been returned and re-erected in Axum. There is also a visit to the church of Saint Marry of Zion, which is considered to be the holiest Christian sanctuary in the country and contains the crowns of Ethiopian kings and other treasures. There is an old and a new church in the compound as well as a museum but the most significant building is a tiny chapel constantly guarded by monks. Only one specially chosen guardian is allowed access to this chapel as this is where the Ark of the Covenant, containing the tablets on which Moses wrote the Ten Commandments and carried from Mt Sinai in Egypt, are believed to be stored.
Overnight stay Yared Zema Hotel or similar