Top things to do

Top Choice Archaeological Site in Aksum

Northern Stelae Field

Despite the dizzying grandeur of the numerous rock needles reaching for the stars, it’s what’s under your feet here that’s most important. Amazingly, about 90% of the field hasn’t yet been dug, so no matter where yo…
Top Choice Monastery in Aksum

Abba Pentalewon

High above Aksum, on top of a tall, narrow peak, is Abba Pentalewon monastery. Tradition states it was built by Abba Pentalewon, one of the Nine Saints and a man who is said to have prayed nonstop for 40 years, and …
Top Choice Landmark in Aksum

Ark of the Covenant Chapel

In between the old and new St Mary of Zion churches is the real reason for most people’s devotion: a tiny, carefully guarded chapel that houses what most Ethiopians believe is the legendary Ark of the Covenant. Don’…
Top Choice Church in Aksum

St Mary of Zion Churches Complex

Though religions have come and gone, Aksum has always remained a holy city – welcome to the centre of the universe for Christian Ethiopians. A church of some form has stood here since the earliest days of Ethiopian …
Top Choice Church in Aksum

Arabtu Ensessa Church

The ‘Four Beasts’ Church, named after the writers of the Biblical Gospels, was rebuilt in the 1950s and is worth a look for the wonderful murals (most modern, but a few old) covering nearly every centimetre of the i…
Top Choice Arts & Crafts in Aksum

St George Gallery Axum

One of the best shops in northern Ethiopia, St George has that rare combination of simple tourist items and fine pieces of art and antiques, although the quality tends towards the latter. Religious paintings (includ…
Top Choice Juice Bar in Aksum

Kuda Juice

This cool little juice bar has free wi-fi, a modern feel and terrific juices. Ask for its special of the day – we loved the mango, avocado and guava – or try the shek (juice with milk). It was in the process of expa…
Top Choice Bar in Aksum

Yeha Hotel

The hotel may be past its prime, but the Yeha remains the best place in town for a sundowner. The terrace faces the setting sun and overlooks the Northern Stelae Field, St Mary of Zion Church and surrounding hills.
Hill in Aksum

Gobodura Hill

A site known as Wuchate Golo is one of Aksum's four ancient quarries, the birthplace of the famous stelae. Several stelae (all unmarked) were almost completely freed from the rock, but then abandoned. Just as intere…
Church in Aksum

Old Church of St Mary of Zion

The rectangular, men-only old church at the southern end of the complex of churches here is a remarkable example of traditional architecture built by the Emperor Fasiladas, the founder of Gonder, in 1665. Inside the…