Axum Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Axum

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    EXCHANGE MONEY

    by DAO Updated May 27, 2014

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    There are 2 full service banks on the main street in Axum. They are:
    • Commercial Bank (first picture)
    Open 8am-11am & 1pm-3pm M-F, 8-11am Saturday
    Offers Western Union and Bureau de Change services
    • Wegagen Bank (2nd picture)
    Open 8am-4pm M-S
    Offers Bureau de Change services with a better exchange rate

    Please note: both banks give a less favourable rate on all currencies except U.S. Dollars. This is even more true at any hotels in the town.

    COMMERCIAL BANK, AXUM WEGAGAN BANK, AXUM
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    THE CHURCH ON THE HILL

    by DAO Updated May 19, 2014

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    The Monastery of Abba Pentalewon (varied spellings) is set high on a hill you see on the road from the airport to town. In fact, it dominates the landscape. It’s a bit more accessible at the back, but is set on an impossibly steep hill. Before Christianity (around the year 300AD) this hill was used by Pagans. It is widely believed that the Monastery was built here in this awkward place to keep the Pagans from returning. Inside are a good collection of relics like goat-skin Bibles, manuscripts and metal crosses. It’s not a must see here, but if you are here for a few days definitely take it in.

    Small entry fee.

    MEN ONLY.

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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    BUY THE KIDS A BALL

    by DAO Updated Apr 21, 2014

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    Make a small difference. Many children play and stand around in the main street because they have nothing to do. If you want to help and give them weeks of entertainment, then stop into a shop and buy them a good soccer ball. They cost 25 Birr or about $4. Please find pictured my new youth sports team – Axum United (DAO). These boys were delighted with their ball and promptly disappeared to go play a game in a nearby field.


    Please note: Please do not give gifts to the kids here just because you can. Some sound advice from another VT member. Axum does not have children begging when they see tourists like other cities. I was approached while with a local family and this was after a long conversation. I am a firm believer in giving sports equipment to children who will use and enjoy it. Just think that many gifts can be re-sold and start a begging culture when the kids should be concentrating on their school work.

    Related to:
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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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  • Guide to Aksum

    by bbahn Written Dec 18, 2009

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    I recommend a great guide to Axum: it's the Guide to Aksum and Yeha just published in 2009 by Arada Books (they have the website aradabooks.com): a very nice balance between history and travelling. Congratulations to the author Gian Paolo Chiari!

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    THE BIG ONE

    by DAO Updated Apr 13, 2009

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    You are looking at the largest, tallest and last Stelae ever built by the Axumite Empire (4th century BC to the 8th century AD). The Kings of Axum built the stelae between 100 BC to 300 AD to mark the burial place of kings and for religious ceremonies. Some of the stelae have shallow holes and channels used to contain blood from human sacrifices. As the line of kings progressed they saw the raising of these massive stone monoliths as a testament to their divine powers. The "Great Stelae" measured 108 ft (33M) and weighs over 500 tonnes. In fact it is the largest stone erection ever built on earth. Its massive weight and height probably was the sole reason for its collapse. Needles to say this must have been a massive blow to the psyche of the current king and his people. No other stelae were even attempted to be built afterwards. The Kingdom also has come into contact with Christianity and this took a firm hold after the collapse of the Great Stelae.

    Today you can climb on and under this fantastic monument. Probably no other Empire in the history of mankind has such a defining symbol of the demise of its power.

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    • Historical Travel

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    ST MARY OF ZION CHURCH

    by DAO Updated Sep 13, 2008

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    The Church of St Mary of Zion was built around 1635 by Emperor Fasilidas and is today a very large complex containing everything from the Ark of the Covenant, golden crowns of the kings of Axum, goat skin bibles that were hand drawn hundreds of years ago and some really nice priests that will give you free beer. The main church, pictured here, is still an active place of worship. The modern dome and bell tower of the new Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion was built by Emperor Haile Selessie in the 1950s. The original church was during the reign of Ezana, the first Christian emperor of Ethiopia, in the fourth century AD. It has been rebuilt several times since. The deep foundations of this original church are just to the side of the modern dome. The first recorded destruction of the church was in the 10th century by the non-Christian Queen Gudit. The second sacking of the church was in the 16th century at the hands of the Muslim warlord Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi. It was rebuilt again by Emperor Fasilides during the 1600s. All Ethiopian Emperors must be crowned in this church or at least have their coronation ratified by a special service here.

    If you visit during worshiping times you can visit the other parts of the complex until they finish. You will be shown the elaborate goat skin bible dating back to at least the 1700’s. You need to make a small donation after they show this to you. Flash photography of the bible is not allowed and unnecessary with a good camera.

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    INTERNET ACCESS

    by DAO Updated Sep 11, 2008

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    Axum is a quiet and sleep town full of historical treasures in the middle of nowhere. That doesn’t mean you have to loose touch with the outside world. There are now a good handful of internet places in Axum and they are very cheap by European standards. Expect slow speeds. All of Ethiopia is years off from broadband. The whole telephone network needs serious modernising and everyone wants to use the internet. OK for important matters, but not for loads of surfing of uploading.

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    • Study Abroad
    • Backpacking

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    THE CAMEL - PART 2

    by DAO Written Jul 4, 2008

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    OK. Let’s stay focused here people. Now for part 2 about the most useful, yet despicably foul animals in the world. For those keeping up, we are still on the Arabian Camel with 1 hump. That hump is were these guys store their food so to speak. They can live off their stored fat for week! When they do start to run out their hump droops to the side. I have never seen this, but I have also never been with nomads in the desert for weeks either.

    So Mr. Camels can lose 40% of his body weight then just suck up 32 gallons (145 litres) of water to re-hydrate. Wow.

    Then he has an inner eyelid, in addition to his outer, which protects the eyes from sandstorms while still letting in enough light to see where they are going. They have huge eyelashes on their outer eyelids to keep out sand and can even close their nostrils completely for the same purpose. The last bit? they have broad feet so they do not sink into the sand!

    A few stats:
    * Life span of about 50 years
    * Gestation is 12 to 14 months
    * Offspring are usually 1 at a time. 2 sometimes

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    • National/State Park
    • Photography

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    THE CAMEL - PART 1

    by DAO Written Jun 30, 2008

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    Camels are know as the ‘Ships of the Desert’ and rightfully so. They can easily survive where other animals cannot. They are amazing strong, versatile, useful, but inherently vile and evil beasts. Just remember that they are foul tempered and will happily bite you and/or spit in your face. Just keep to the sides or rear and you will be fine. There are 2 kinds of camel – the Dromedary Camel (also known as the Arabian Camel) with 1 hump and the Bactrian Camel (or Asian Camel) with 2 humps. 90% of the world’s camels are Dromedaries and these are the ones you will find all over Africa, from the North to the South and even on the Canary Islands.

    How useful are they? They can carry 200 pounds (90 kilograms) of weight, walk 20 miles (32 kilometres) a day in the desert and go without water for over a week and without food for months! Their coats can be used for wool; you can drink their milk, eat the meat (tough!), make leather from their skin and burn their droppings for fuel. Very versatile indeed!

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Desert
    • Photography

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    HIRE A GREAT GUIDE !

    by DAO Updated Dec 31, 2007

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    Hello. Please let me introduce my local guide and friend, Firdi Mekonen. In addition to being the most knowledgeable and friendly Guide and Historian in Axum, he is also very reasonable with his rates. Firdi is the Cousin of a friend from Addis Ababa. He is not only knowledgeable about the history of the Auxmite Empire; he is also really a lot of fun too. Many of Axum’s historical treasures are actually walking distance from every hotel in town. Local transport can be arranged for any other historical sites outside of town by Firdi. As he is male, he can also take Men into the shrine forbidden to women (Ladies, hand over your digital cameras).

    You can contact Firdi by telephone or email. He can arrange:

    • Airport Transfers
    • Hotels
    • Tours of all sites
    • Entrance fees
    • A fascinating tour and full explanation of the historical museum
    • Direct you to banks, restaurants and shops

    His details are:
    Firdi Mekonen
    PO Box 280 Axum, Tigray, Ethiopia
    Mobile: (251) 911 553 406
    Email: firdime@yahoo.com

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Family Travel

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    THE 2 BELL TOWERS

    by DAO Written May 23, 2007

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    HELLO!

    You are looking at a tip I have not added content to yet. If you need information about this now, please email me and I will update it immediately. Thank you for your patience.

    DAO

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    THE LEATHER BIBLE

    by DAO Written May 23, 2007

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    HELLO!

    You are looking at a tip I have not added content to yet. If you need information about this now, please email me and I will update it immediately. Thank you for your patience.

    DAO

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    RETURNED FROM ITALY

    by DAO Written May 23, 2007

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    HELLO!

    You are looking at a tip I have not added content to yet. If you need information about this now, please email me and I will update it immediately. Thank you for your patience.

    DAO

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    THE ARK OF THE COVENANT

    by DAO Written May 23, 2007

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    HELLO!

    You are looking at a tip I have not added content to yet. If you need information about this now, please email me and I will update it immediately. Thank you for your patience.

    DAO

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    ETHNOGRAPHICAL MUSEUM

    by DAO Written May 19, 2007

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    HELLO!

    You are looking at a tip I have not added content to yet. If you need information about this now, please email me and I will update it immediately. Thank you for your patience.

    DAO

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

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Axum Things to Do

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