Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hawlti (the ‘standing stelae’)

The most famous monuments of Aksum are its marvelous stelae. How these stelae were made and erected is still open to question. People come from all over the world to visit these astonishing monuments. 
Past and present research suggest there are 1314 standing sculp tured stelae in Aksum and its surrounding areas.
Five of the famous are:
The Covenant Stelae. It weighs 150 tones and is almost 21 meters in height. It was erected at the end of 400 BC according to Kibrenegest but Dr.phillipson argues that it was dated not before the end of 3rd century A.D

The ‘Giant Fallen Stelae’. It has a total length of 33 meters and is estimated to have been 520 tones in weight. It lies broken on the ground in five major parts.

The underground chamber in the ‘Royal Cemetery’, now called the Nefas mawcha (Temple of Winds). Its capstone is some 11x6.5 by 1 to 1.5 meters, and weighs about 360 tones.

The cemetery of Romhay (‘Tomb of the False door’), is discovered during the excavations of 1974 and its door is a single sculptured stone portal.

East of the Romhay Cemetery is an underground road leading to the four compass directions, North, South, East and West.

A legend told for many years around Aksum describes there are rooms and a place beneath the fallen stela. During the 1993 excavations, a tomb having 10 rooms and a central corridor was uncovered, the latter with a length of 16m, a width of 2m and a height of 2m. It is located west of the ‘Giant Fallen Stelae’ and a similar entrance found east of the stelae suggests a parallel building might be there.
          The entrance to the right of the standing stelae is called yeshekla Kested emena (‘rainbow like arched door of bricks’). A descent of 22 steps leads to a royal tomb just east of the ‘Covenant Stele’, called theTomb of the Brick Arches’. Many relics were found in this tomb, amongst which the most impressive are two large ivory plaques decorated with wine leaves. The ivory found east of the ‘Covenant stelae’ is called Berik Ark of the Royal Grave. The stelae Field is assumed to be the central mystery of Aksum.
          North of the Stelae Field, near the Enda Yesus (Jesus) Church, there are four main types of stelae decorated with unique architecture. This area is the second Stelae Field, and stretches from the Church of Enda Yesus as far as Geza Agumay.

The distribution of the stela at Aksum and its surrounding areas can be summed up as follows:

Name of Historical Site                    No of stelae
Queeen of Sheba (Dengur)               580
Nefas Mewcha                                   106
Enda Yesus                                       38
Gele Emni                                         13
Geza Agumay                                    10
Abuna Gurum                                   15
Enda Tsion                                        31
Kebele 04                                          31
Kebele 07                                          20
Ezana Menafesha                              11
Hawlti Moles                                     60
Yeha                                                  5
Hinzat                                               65
Biete Giorgis                                     316
Gediba Maryam                                 6
Chama Emni                                     7
Total                                                  1,314
continue Reading..The Tomb of Bazen

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