According to historical evidences, Aksum is amongst the ancient and historical towns in Ethiopia. Some of the evidences are the ancient achievements such as the stelae, the underground buildings and various relics still found here. Since 4370 BC, Aksum was the seat of Ethiopian kings. Still other historical records state there were 21 kings of the tribe Ari to king Sibtah, from King Kam to king Auknaus (the Agazian tribe) there were 25 kings; and other 52 kings to Queen of Sheba (Dekike yoktan tibe), who together reigned for many centuries.
The civilization was particularly dynamic during the reign of Queen Sheba, due to foreign trade relations, administration, religion and other social institutions. The Queen of Sheba also entered into good diplomatic relations with the Biblical King Solomon (‘The Wise’). A legend is attached to this relationship. According to the legend, Queen Sheba went to greet King Solomon in Jerusalem and to gain knowledge, as she had heard he was the wisest king on earth at that time. There she conceive the future on Menilik I and, on her return to Aksum, Introduced new developments to her country and was celebrated during her reign , about 1000BC. Until the birth of Christ ,62 kings from the Agasian tribe reigned after her. Other 36 kings reigned between 8 and 333 AD.
During Christian times, i.e. from Abraha We-Atsbeha until 922 AD, there were 58 Christian kings. However, a queen from an unknown tribe of the Falasha (Jewish group) named Queen Yodit (Gudit) reigned for about 40 years (842-882 AD). In general, there were 255 kings in Aksum, who reigned for more than 5390 years.
During this long history, Aksum greatly contributed to human development. The stelae, the rock tombs, the temples, the palaces, the stone ‘thrones’ and sculptured stone monuments are some of the ancient evidences for its resourcefulness.
Ancient Aksum, with all its golden treasures and underground mysteries, is situated in a region of mild temperature and has a good climate. It covers a surface area of more than 1,000 square hectares. There are thirteen hotels and restaurants, and 33 modern shops. Its population is about 40,000.
Aksum is the center and origin of the Ethiopian orthodox church 9EOC), and there are presently three head churches in the town, including the cathedral of Maryam Tsion, the church of the Four animals and the church of Jesus Christ. All these churches are led and administered by the head of the church, called the nebure-id, because Aksum is the center of all education in the EOC. There are priests, chanters and deacons who live regular service to the Church, and students studying the Bible and the Tsewati We Zema, Qene (grammar and poetry of the Ge’ez language).
Within the feudal economic system of Ethiopian, Aksum was the richest leading monastery, and derived its income from land owned by the Church, income tax and other sources. It is, however, dependent on the small contributions made by Christians, tourist fees and the profits of handicrafts at present. Even in times of security problems, spiritual education, church services (Masses) and the ecclesiastical ‘Songs of Yared’ and others continue, especially on the day of St. Mary of Zion, Hidar 21, (December 1st) Palm Sunday and Epiphany, when devotees from all over Ethiopia look towards Aksum.
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