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 rulers’ crowns and a dazzling display of gold and silver chalices, crosses, jewellery and even drums. It clearly demonstrates the immense wealth of the Church.

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1. New Church of St Mary of Zion

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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…

2. Ark of the Covenant Chapel

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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…

3. St Mary of Zion Churches Complex

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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…

4. Old Church of St Mary of Zion

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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…

5. Throne Stone

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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.

6. Arabtu Ensessa Church

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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…

7. Northern Stelae Field

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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,…

8. Da'Ero Ela Fig Tree

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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…