St Mary of Zion

Obelisk Park Queen of Sheba St Mary of Zion

St Mary of Zion


church where the ark of the covenant is believed to be housed

Aksum has long been regarded a holy city for the Ethiopian Orthodox church. It forms the setting of the 14th-century work Kebra Negast (“Glory of the Kings”), which relates the tradition of the transference of the Ark of the Covenant from Jerusalem to Aksum by King Menilek I, legendary son of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba (Makeda). According to tradition, the Church of St. Mary of Zion contains the Ark of the Covenant. Over the centuries, however, the church has been destroyed and rebuilt several times; the present structure dates from the 17th century. Emperor Haile Selassie I built the new Church of St. Mary of Zion near the old one in 1965.

Text from Encyclopedia Britannica


seen only by the caretaker


reading scripture in front of the church




Treasures of the old church


cross and drum used in religious ceremonies


an elaborate Ethiopian Coptic cross



religious crowns


keeper of the treasures


the caretaker holding a cross

the church of St. Mary of Zion




stairs to the church


building next to church entrance where often manuscripts were stored



remnant of an older carved stone

Other Photos of the Obelisk fragments


side of the church


opposite side


guide pointing out the ceremonial significance of the two holes


older building in the religious complex

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Obelisk Park Queen of Sheba St Mary of Zion

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