A Travellerspoint blog

Day 206 – Axum and the Ark of the Covenant

15th April 2012


We were in Axum, the ancient capital of the Axumite empire and currently a tourist destination famed for the stone stelae erected as tomb markers in the cities heyday 1300 to 1600 years ago. The stelae, some over twenty metres high and made of solid granite were substantial to say the least. Apparently they’d been carved from the rock and transported by teams of elephants to their final resting sites. One particular stele lay in state where it had fallen and smashed into several huge sections; at over 500 tonnes of rock it must have been an impressive team of elephants that moved it there.

It was Easter Sunday in Ethiopia and there was an air of expectation. We wandered the town visiting the main sites and enjoying more coffee and bombolinas in a local cafe. Children were a constant harassment and eventually we found respite in a beer house.

In a continuation of the Indiana Jones theme we’d begun two days earlier we were supposedly just metres away from the current resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. The stone box containing the tablets on which are written the Ten Commandments; a gift from God himself to Moses and obviously of immense religious significance were it true. Naturally, it is far too sacred and Holy for any mere mortal to set eyes upon and so we’ll never know the truth. Somers wasn’t even allowed anywhere near the small building that contained the Ark. A woman apparently attacked the church 1000 years ago and ever since females have been banned from the area, something the local religious sorts were all too quick to enforce.

We went for another beer and ate meat, woo hoo, returning to the hotel amidst noisy celebrations.

Posted by ibeamish 23:15 Archived in Ethiopia

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