Aksum is a city in the northern part of Ethiopia. It is also spelled as Axum.
The original capital of the Kingdom of Aksum, it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in Africa. Axum was a naval and trading power that ruled the region from about 400 BCE into the 10th century. In 1980 UNESCO added Aksum’s archaeological sites to its list of World Heritage Sites due to their historic value. It has a population of 56,000.
The Axumite Empire has a longstanding relationship with Islam. There are different traditions concerning the effect these early Muslims had on the ruler of Axum. The Muslim tradition is that the ruler of Axum was so impressed by these refugees that he became a secret convert.
There is also a second Ethiopian tradition that, on the death of Ashama ibn Abjar, Muhammed is reported to have prayed for the king’s soul, and told his followers, “Leave the Abyssinians in peace, as long as they do not take the offensive.”
Axum is part of the famous Ethiopia’s Historical Circuit. Other attractions in Axum include archaeological and ethnographic museums, Rosetta Stone, King Bazen’s Tomb the 4th-century Ta’akha Maryam and 6th-century Dungur palaces, the monasteries of Abba Pentalewon and Abba Liqanos and the Lioness of Gobedra rock art.
History of Aksum City
The city was flourished between the first century BC and the 7th/8th centuries AD. The Aksum kingdom is sometimes known as the Axumite civilization. Aksum was an extensive state, with a farming economy, and deeply involved in trade by the first century AD with the Roman empire. After Meroe shut down, Aksum controlled trading between Arabia and Sudan, including goods such as ivory, skins, and manufactured luxury goods.
Its decline in population and trade then contributed to the shift of the power center of the Ethiopian Empire south to the Agaw region as it moved further inland. The city of Axum was the administrative seat of an empire spanning 1 million square miles. Eventually, the alternative name (Ethiopia) was adopted by the central region, and subsequently, the present modern state.