My final stop on my Ethiopia trip took me to the far north to Axum (or Aksum).
My previous threads took me to the South
The Omo Valley (1)
Axum is an incredible place, very different from the other parts of Ethiopia that I saw. Like Lalibela, it is part of the classic historical circuit of the Christian north of the country. However, it is in the Tigray region, which is culturally very distinct. They speak their own language, and have a lot in common culturally with neighbouring Eritrea (it really is very close to the border).
The city was once the centre of the Axumite empire, which stretched across the Red Sea encompassing parts of what is now Yemen. Axum is also a religiously significant holy city. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims that the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum houses the Biblical Ark of the Covenant, in which lie the Tablets of Law upon which the Ten Commandments are inscribed.
All in all, the atmosphere of Axum was very interesting. It certainly felt as if you are getting close to the Arabic world (compared with the far south of Ethiopia which felt very stereotypically African). The surrounding landscape is stunning, and again, very different from even Lalibella which is not so far as the crow flies.
Anyway, without further ado, here is the final instalment of my Ethiopia travels.
by Alexander Macfarlane
, on Flickr