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The Axumite Kingdom
Rising to importance around the time of the birth of Christ, the time of the earliest historical records, Axum was the capital of the far reaching Axumite Kingdom, a great commercial civilization that traded with distant lands and dominated the vital crossroads of Africa and Asia for almost a thousand years.

It was a kingdom of great wealth and sophistication , whose kings minted a gold coinage when almost no one else in the world was rich enough to afford it or sophisticated enough to require it.

Various religions were introduced to Axum at different points in its long history.
It is assumed that Judaism was introduced during the times of Queen Sheba at least to the court of the Queen.

Axum and Christianity
Axum was introduced to Christianity as early as 333 AD. It became the official creed of the Axumite state. Many churches and monasteries were built all over Tigray, the oldest of which are St. Mary of Zion, ( Axum- Tsion ), and Debre Damo respectively.
Axum-Tsion is the holiest site in Ethiopia, because according to the legends of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, it is the sanctuary of the original Ark of the Covenant.
Debre Damo is found on a clif 24 meters high, and the ascent to this monastery is an event by itself. Monks lower ropes, which one has to tie around one's waist. The same rope is used to climb with.
This lack of access, may have protected Debre Damo from plundering hands all through out its 1400 years history.
The monastery has a remarkable reservoir that served as a prototype for those later built in the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.

Axum and Islam
During the first years of Islam, the Christian king of Axum of the time gave sanctuary to the followers of Islam from their persecutors. The Muslims were allowed to worship freely, and the Negash Mosque, one of the first mosques ever to be built outside Arabia, was built.
Related Pages: Video Clip - Northern Ethiopia/Axum
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