Axum is described as home of the arc of covenant and the cradle of Ethiopian civilization. The three thousand years history, stretching from queen of Sheba to the present day, is an enchantment to the visitors flocking this spectacular part of Ethiopia.
During the first century AD, Axum was a major trading center; trading with Egypt, Rome, Greece, Syria and India, by minting their own Aksumite currency. The state established its hegemony over the declining Kingdom of Kush and regularly entered the politics of the kingdoms on the Arabian Peninsula.
One of the major tour sites of Axum is its Stelae. The Stelae Park comprises of seven mysterious monolithic stelae from which Axum is identified. These dates between the 1st and the 3rd century AD and received recognition by the UNESCO in 1980.
Legends say the Arc of the covenant was kept in Axum until the 9th century A.D. The arc was then secretly removed to avoid destruction during Queen Gudit’s religious purge. It was taken some 700 kilometers (435 miles) south to Tulu Guddo, an island in Lake Ziway, and kept there for 72 years and later returned to Axum, where it is found today, in Mariyam Tsion church.
Axum is also known for its amazing attraction sites spread over the wider area of the town. These include; Cathedral of St. Mary of Zion compound where the Arc of the Covenant is housed in a small chapel and the great museum attached to the compound with the collection of past Ethiopian history, Archeological museum (with fine ancient Sabean and early geez inscriptions, house hold objects, gold, silver and bronze coins and multilingual tablets dating from the time of Christ), Tombs of several kings spread in different areas with a variety of architectures, the ruined palace and bath of queen of Sheba, as well as the spectacular monasteries which can be covered by half a day excursions.