Axum, it's a modern town, but also an old empire, a culture, and a lot of history. Axum was the cradle of one of the most important civilizations of Ethiopia.
This kingdom would have started in the first century before our era. It reached its peak in the 5th and 6th centuries with an influence from Yemen to Sudan. The Axumite kingdom was controlling commerce on the Rea Sea and was doing business with other great nations such as India and Egypt.
The reasons for the decline of the empire are not really clear. Today, there are still ancient monuments all around the town. The most well-known are the famous great stelae of several metres carved in a single piece of rock. There are also old tombs, a royal palace, minor stelae, and the famous Ezana Stone.
East of the main stelae field, there is another field with some superb stelae among which some have been carved.
The Ezana Stone takes its name from King Ezana who wanted it carved with the story of victories against enemies of the kingdom.
This stone is very important since it was carved in three languages of the time: Greek, Ge'ez (ancient language of Ethiopia), and Sabeen. Similar to the Rosetta Stone, it helped the historians to decipher the Ge'ez language with the help of the Greek translation.
There were many kings in the Axumite Empire. Some of them had huge tombs build for the royal family and themselves.
This structure, west of the town, looks like a palace or at the minimum a luxurious mansion.
There is little certainty regarding the usage of this building. It is unlikely that the Queen of Sheba has ever stayed here since the historians are not sure where this queen's kingdom was.
In front of the palace of the Queen of Sheba, there is another stelae field predating those of the Northern Field. The stelae more or less look like the menhirs such as the famous Obelix is carrying on its back.
The Lioness of Gobedra is located a few kilometres from town. It is a superb carving of a lioness measuring 3 metres.
Historians are not certain of the origin of this carving. It is located is one of the quarry where the rock for the stelae was cut.
The quarry where huge stone blocks were made.
The modern town is also very nice. Houses are often painted in a colourful way.