Axum is one of the highlights of any trip to Ethiopia. Axum was the capital of the Tigray for 2 000 years and supposedly the place where the Queen of Sheba lived. According to Ethiopian legend the Ark remains in the 17th-century Cathedral of St. Mary of Zion built by Emperor Haile Selasie, who also happens to be the 227th direct decedent of Menelik 1 (refer to the personal essay under the section The Ark of the Covenant, for background information) . Unfortunately the chapel is guarded night and day by a monk who refuses to let anyone check out the story. The chapel is considered too holy for anyone to enter, except the chosen guardian monk. Although the civil war left its scars, most of Axums ruins which date from AD 400 remain untouched. They include palaces buildings and 11 large stelae or obelisks each carved from a single piece of stone (some as tall as 75 ft/22 m).
Other attractions include the ruins of the Queen of Shebas palace the Queens well (still in use) and a display (in a modern church) of the crowns of ancient kings and Queens. There is also pools at the sight where the Queen of Sheba supposedly lived. Now mostly women and children do their laundry and collect water there.