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, probably dating from the 6th century AD or earlier. Covering a vast 120m-by-80m area, Ta’akha Maryam is bigger than Dungur and would have been far larger than medieval European palaces of the time. The Archaeological Museum has a model of how it may have looked. Sadly it's closed to the public pending excavations.

Today there’s little more than piles of rubble and a couple of dressed stone blocks strewn on either side of the road that the Italians cut straight through.

Just to the north is Enda Semon, another palace ruin with even less to see. Excavation is also due to begin here.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Aksum attractions

1. Main Market

0.16 MILES

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

2. Old Quarter

0.18 MILES

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…

3. Arabtu Ensessa Church

0.25 MILES

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…

4. Da'Ero Ela Fig Tree

0.32 MILES

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…

5. Basket Market

0.33 MILES

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…

6. Throne Stone

0.34 MILES

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.

7. Old Church of St Mary of Zion

0.34 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…

8. Ark of the Covenant Chapel

0.36 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…