Queen of Sheba’s Bath


Despite the colourful legends, this large reservoir probably wasn’t where Sheba came to bathe. It was an important reservoir rather than a swimming pool or gargantuan bath. Nobody is totally sure of its age, but it’s certainly been used as a water source for millennia. Its large size is even more impressive considering it’s hewn from solid rock. It’s also known as Mai Shum, which translates to ‘Chief’s Water’. It’s used for Timkat celebrations, just like Fasiladas’ Bath in Gonder.

Sadly, the outer portion of the bowl was coated with concrete in the 1960s, making it look more like a modern trough than an ancient relic.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Aksum attractions

1. Northern Stelae Field

0.18 MILES

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,…

2. 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…

3. King Ezana's Inscription

0.22 MILES

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…

4. 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…

5. St Mary of Zion Church Museum

0.32 MILES

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

6. St Mary of Zion Churches Complex

0.32 MILES

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…

7. Ark of the Covenant Chapel

0.34 MILES

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…

8. Old Church of St Mary of Zion

0.36 MILES

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…