Much more is known about the historic highland city of Axum, once a great commercial center, trading via the Red Sea port of Adulis and founded perhaps 500 years after the decline of Yeha. Axum stands in the highlands of north western Tigray, commanding spectacular views over the nearby Adwa hills. This ancient settlement is frequently referred to as ‘’the sacred city of Ethiopians’’- a description that adequately sums up its significance in national culture as a center of Orthodox Christianity.
Many remarkable monuments here attest to the great antiquity of religious expression in this country, and as a former capital that has never lost its special appeal to the hearts and minds of all Ethiopians.
Axum is renowned for its Cathedral of St.Mary of Zion where, legend has it; the original Ark of the Covenant is housed. Axum is also famous for its seven mysterious monolithic stelae, hewn from single pieces of solid granite. The most notable are carved to multi-storey houses; several weigh more than 500 tones and stand 20 meters high. Axum’s greatest significance, however, is as the epicenter of the Queen of Sheba’s dynasty, upon which rests the notion of the sacred kinship of the Semitic peoples Ethiopia- a notion that links the recent past to ancient times.