Semir Worku | Ethiopia | January 5

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AxumAxum is one of the most important and ancient archeological sites of Ethiopia. It is well known for its ruins of the palace of the legendary Queen of Sheba who has reigned at about 1000 B.C. The greatest mystery of all, however, is that the son of Queen Sheba, Menilik I, who was the first King from Solomonic dynasty, brought with him the Arc of the Covenant which is still believed to be kept in the church of St. Mary Zion of Axum, erected on the original location of the oldest church in Ethiopia. The Axumite king’s conversion to Christianity in the 4th century makes Ethiopia the 3rd oldest Christian country after Armenia and Georgia. The site of the country’s most ancient city shields and shelter a great number of priceless relics. Other ancient sites such as the Steles are over 2,000 years old, and are made from single blocks of granite carved to represent multi-storey houses.

Debre Damo

Debre DamoThe ancient monasteries of Debre Damo are considered to be among the oldest monasteries in the country. Unlike other monasteries and churches, Debre Damo is built on the top of the Amba hill. The Amba hill of Debre Damo has an area of half square kilometer and its altitude rises to 3000m above sea level. In the 16th c, Emperor Lebne Dengel took refuge on the Amba during the wars of Ahmed Giragn. Currently, the monastery hosts more than 300 monks and deacons. The style of construction depicts the earliest Axumite architecture. Access to the Monastery is only by way of rope and is open for men only.

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