Our ancestor had formed cities through their need for proximity to a fresh water source, suitable ground to settle their family and cattle and sometimes for political and economical sustainability. Aksum is one of these ancient cities and is found north of the current capital, Addis Ababa. This city was founded around 900 B.C.
Here are five things you did not know about the city of Aksum.
1. Even though all kings/queens’ reigns differ from each other, some kings stand out from others through their work and contribution to their people. Amongst these kings and queens the Queen of Sheba stands out above all. It is told that this queen was beloved and chosen by God that her rivals stood no chance against her. In addition, this queen birthed the son of the then king of Israel which started a dynasty known as the Solomonic dynasty.
2. Religion is one of the things that people have in common and Aksumite kings, who were Orthodox Christians, are known for their piousness. The kings brought their people together in the name of God and if bishops did not announce them as anointed by God, they would not reign and people would not accept them. Since the topic of Orthodox Christianity has been raised, it is impossible not to mention the puzzling and mysterious Ark of the Covenant. It is believed that the Ark currently resides in this ancient city. Many archeologists tried to find and see the Ark but it is said that only those who are pure of spirit could reach it.
3. When Italy tried to invade and colonize Ethiopia for the second time, their focus from all the ancient relics and artifacts was the Obelisk of Aksum. This obelisk is several centuries old and is now visited by at least 30 tourists per day. It is told that king Ezana had these graceful obelisks made in the 4th century A.D. and their structures puzzles today’s engineers and architects. The Italians could not restore the stolen obelisk so they were persuaded to return it in pieces.
4. The Aksumite Empire was a very vast empire. It not only consisted of today’s Aksum city, but also Eritrea, Yemen, Djibouti, Sudan and even Saudi Arabia on today’s map. The Aksumites were in control of the canal that helped to connect Rome with India.
5. The scholars of Aksum were of different origins and travelled a lot which means that they were fluent in their native Sabean, Greek and other languages. It is told that Geez was the official language. Nowadays, although the Geez language is not spoken, it is the language of worship of the Orthodox Church. Archeologists still could not find out why the Aksumites minted their coins in Greek and not their native language.