A Travellerspoint blog

Home of the Ark of the Covenant


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large_5550_12018575918257.jpgThis houses the Ark of the Covenant (which contains the Ten Commandments).
Axum is famous for two things ... as far as I'm concerned anyway. Firstly there's the stelae or obelisks made from stone, and secondly there's the Ark of the Covenant (according to Ethiopian Orthodox belief).

I was a bit disappointed with the obelisk tomb markers ... I expected something more intact ... according to our guide, only about 5% of Axumite ruins have been excavated so maybe I should pay a visit in a century or two.

St Mary's was quite nice. There's old St Mary's which only allows men to enter ... so the King built new St Mary's so his wife could go pray there. Very considerate. In between the two St Mary's is a small building that supposedly holds the Ark. Even the big bishop isn't allowed to see it ... there's only one specific monk who is allowed to see it.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Ethiopia Comments (0)

Short hop to Adigrat


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Our hotel in Mekele [Mekele-travel-guide-1320953] was booked out for tonight. Instead of packing up for another hotel, I decided it would be better to move to the next town Adigrat. It would break the journey to Axum [Axum-travel-guide-948984] nicely ... especially when there wasn't much to do in Mekele.

Both Mekele and Adigrat are bases for exploring the Tigray rock-hewn churches. I'm a bit jaded with churches ... besides, the ones in Tigray (and also other sights like Debre Damo monastery) are very costly to get to. Ethiopians seem to like ripping foreigners off with ridiculous transport pricing and there isn't much choice ... except to take it or leave it!

There are few private vehicles on the intercity roads ... only buses, minivans and trucks :-(

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Ethiopia Comments (0)

My grandfather is sick


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We fluked it today. While waiting for the bus (yes another 5am wake-up), we were offered a Cobra service. We didn't know what it was but were pleasantly surprised to see that it was a Landcruiser with only two other passengers. It took us swiftly to Mekele ... Marie wasn't well last night. She appears to have come down with a fever.

She's always being mistaken for my mother, wife, sister etc ... jokingly she said "Your grandfather is sick."

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Ethiopia Comments (0)

Involuntary stop


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large_5550_12018540539860.jpgOur minivan ride.
At about 7pm last night I checked with the hotel staff as to whether he had bought our tickets to Woldia (for this morning's 6am departure). He had said he'd buy them at 5:30pm last night upon the arrival of the bus that would overnight here in Lalibela [Lalibela-travel-guide-948981]. He had offered to make the arrangement but he didn't ... he had expected me to give them the fare beforehand but never asked me for it!

Maybe it was a misunderstanding. Maybe it was his way of making sure we didn't get on the bus so they could profit from our situation ...

The hotel man was very apologetic and quickly took me to the bus station in the hope there would be tickets left. Nope, there were none. Then he took me to another man who was supposedly the driver for the Addis-bound bus ... that was full too. So in the end, he arranged a couple of seats in a shared minivan at a price that would make locals weep ... I think.

After nearly 6 bumpy hours we arrived in Woldia. Combined with the 5am wake-up, we were too shattered to continue and decided to overnight here.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Ethiopia Comments (0)

Yeremhana Kristos


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Today, we did an excursion to Yeremhana Kristos, a monastery of about 1000 years. It is built inside a cave and at the rear, is a collection of about 6000 skeletons of pilgrims who have died there. There were some skulls in the floor of the cave as well ... you could easily stub into one thinking it is just a bit of rock.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Ethiopia Comments (0)

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