The origins of the Kingdom of Axum in 5th century BC are most frequently accepted as the event commencing the history of Ethiopia. In the times of its greatest prosperity, the Kingdom was maintaining political and commercial contacts with the civilizations of Greeks and Romans, and also with India and China.
In the times of Kingdom of Axum, the Geez language became an official one – until today, it has been in use in the churches of Ethiopia. This language originates from the Southern-Arabian peoples who reached these lands on their way from Yemen a long time before the establishing of the Kingdom of Axum.
In Axum, it is possible to admire the masterpieces of architecture, for instance, famous steles, until today having been the inspiration for the designers of modern edifices. A short time ago, the stele looted during the Italian occupation returned to the city. Axum had been the venue of coronations for Ethiopian emperors until as recently as the times of Haile Sellasie. In a special chapel next to Tsion Marjam (the Holiest Mother of God on Zion) Cathedral, the legendary Arc of the Covenant is stored. In accordance with a legend, it is from here that the Queen of Sheba departed in order to meet King Solomon. The ruins of her palace and enormous water basins, contemporarily serving as the reservoir of fresh water, have been preserved.