Axum Oblisk , a civilization of considerable distinction. Ethiopian legends
first recorded in the fourteenth-century kebre Nagast(Book
of Kings) make Axum the capital of the Queen of Sheba in the tenth century
We know very little about the early Axumite kingdom.
Roman and Greek sources indicate that an Axumite kingdom was thriving
in the first century AD; the city of Adulis is frequently mentioned because
it had become one of the most important port cities in Africa. Aksum lay
dead in the path of the growing commercial trade routes between Africa,
Arabia, and India.
As a result, it became fabulously wealthy and its major
cities, Adulis, Aksum, and Matara, became three of the most important
cosmopolitan centers in the ancient world. Although they were off the
beaten path as far as European history is concerned, they were just as
cosmopolitan and culturally important in that they served as a crossroads
to a variety of cultures: Egyptian, Sudanic, Arabic, Middle Eastern, and
Indian. Perhaps an indication of this cosmopolitan character can be found
in the fact that the major Aksumite cities had Jewish, Nubian, Christian,
and even Buddhist minorities.
In the second century AD, Aksum acquired tribute states
on the Arabian Peninsula across the Red Sea, conquered northern Ethiopia,
and then finally conquered Kush. The downfall of the Nubian powers led
to the meteoric rise of Aksumite imperial power. The Aksumites controlled
one of the most important trade routes in the world and occupied one of
the most fertile regions in the world.
Axum, 1005 Kilometers (623 miles) from Addis Ababa can be reached by road or by
air on one of Ethiopian Airlines' daily flight
to the town.