ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (03/2015): This year for the first time, Stelae Axum, the legendary field of ancient obelisks in Ethiopia, joined the list of famous landmarks world-wide that ‘go green’ on Saint Patrick’s Day. The ruins of the ancient city of Axum is one of nine sites in Ethiopia which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and Axum is one of the country’s major tourist attractions. The stelae (or memorial obelisks) date from between the third and fourth centuries AD and are said to mark the burial-chambers of the Kings of Axum. The Axum stelae are significant, not only for their great stature, but also for their extraordinary design. They were carved to represent buildings of up to thirteen stories in height. The rocks out of which the stelae are carved, are weather-resistant and come from a nearby quarry. This year, they joined other highly-important monuments lit green on St. Patrick’s Day, including the Colloseum in Rome, the Sphynx and the Pyramids of Egypt.
For nearly 800 years, Axum was the administrative centre of one of the great empires of the old world, along with those of Rome, Persia and China. It remains the ecclesiastical capital of the Ethiopian church. Apart from its stelae, the city is famous for its churches, monasteries, tombs and palace ruins and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980. Axum is also presumed to be the site of the Ark of the Covenant, a chest described in the Book of Exodus as containing the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments are inscribed.
Visitors can travel to Ethiopia on Ethiopian Airlines from two convenient gateways: Washington, DC and Los Angeles, with California via Dublin, Ireland, starting on June 20, 2015. Axum is just a one-hour flight from Addis Ababa. For more information visit www.ethiopianairlines.com
About The Author: Cheryle Velsor
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