Must see attractions in Aksum

  • Top Choice
    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,…

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    Top Choice
    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…

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    Top Choice
    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…

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    Top Choice
    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…

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    Top Choice
    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…

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    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…

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    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…

  • K
    King Bazen's Tomb

    Despite being the crudest of tombs, roughly hewn into solid rock instead of constructed with fine masonry, this place has a slightly magical feel…

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    King Ezana's Inscription

    On the way up to the tombs of Kings Kaleb and Gebre Meskel, you’ll pass a small shack containing a remarkable find that three farmers stumbled upon in…

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    St Mary of Zion Church Museum

    The museum inside the St Mary of Zion Church complex contains an impressive haul of treasure, including an unsurpassed collection of former Ethiopian…

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    Tombs of Kings Kaleb & Gebre Meskel

    Set on a small hill 1.8km northeast of the Northern Stelae Field and offering views of the jagged mountains of Adwa are these two tombs that local…

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    Dungur (Queen of Sheba’s) Palace

    The structure at Dungur is popularly known as Queen of Sheba’s Palace, though archaeologists are divided over whether it was the great woman's palace or…

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    Archaeological Museum

    This well-laid-out museum inside the Northern Stelae Field contains an interesting variety of objects found in the tombs, ranging from ordinary household…

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    Old Quarter

    It’s worth taking a wander around the old quarter surrounding the Northern Stelae Field and stretching west to Ta’akha Maryam. It’s in these dusty streets…

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    New Church of St Mary of Zion

    The huge new church of St Mary of Zion was built in the 1960s so women had a place to worship and it displays Haile Selassie’s usual hideous taste. Still…

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    Da'Ero Ela Fig Tree

    On the first seven days of each month (according to the Ethiopian calendar), St Mary of Zion’s replica Ark (the original replica) is paraded through the…

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    Basket Market

    Aksum has two interesting markets that burst to life on Saturday; both are best between 10.30am and noon. This one takes place under the massive fig tree…

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    Throne Stone

    At the top of the stairs in front of the old St Mary of Zion Church is the Throne Stone where the coronation of 261 Aksumite kings took place.

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    Main Market

    The main market, with spices and the like, runs all week, but is busiest on Saturday.

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    Ta’akha Maryam

    This is one site where the past very much outweighs the present, at least for now. Early excavations revealed that Ta’akha Maryam was a magnificent palace…