August 29, 2016

2720 ETHIOPIA - Aksum (UNESCO WHS)


Situated in the highlands of northern Ethiopia, Aksum symbolizes the wealth and importance of the civilization of the ancient Aksumite Kingdom, which lasted from the 1st to the 8th centuries AD. The kingdom was at the crossroads of the three continents: Africa, Arabia and the Greco-Roman World, and was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. In command of the ivory trade with Sudan, its fleets controlled the Red Sea trade through the port of Adulis and the inland routes of north eastern Africa.

Around 356 AD, its ruler was converted to Christianity by Frumentius. Later, under the reign of Kaleb, Axum was a quasi-ally of Byzantium against the Persian Empire. It is believed it began a long slow decline after the 7th century due partly to the Persians (Zoroastrian) and finally the Arabs contesting old Red Sea trade routes. The Kingdom of Aksum was finally destroyed by Gudit, and eventually some of the people of Aksum were forced south and their civilization declined.

The ruins of the ancient Aksumite Civilization covered a wide area in the Tigray Plateau. The most impressive monuments are the monolithic obelisks, royal tombs and the palace ruins dating to the 6th and 7th centuries AD. Several stelae survive in the town of Aksum (one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in Africa) dating between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The largest standing obelisk rises to a height of over 23m and is exquisitely carved to represent a nine-storey building of the Aksumites.

The largest obelisk of some 33m long lies where it fell, perhaps during the process of erection. It is possibly the largest monolithic stele that ancient human beings ever attempted to erect. A series of inscription on stone tablets have proved to be of immense importance to historians of the ancient world. Some of them include trilingual text in Greek, Sabaean and Ge'ez (Classical Ethiopian), inscribed by King Ezana in the 4th century AD. The introduction of Christianity in the 4th century AD resulted in the building of churches.

About the stamps
The stamp (depicting Lucy, which represents the hominid species Australopithecus afarensis) is one of the four stamps issued in 2013 to mark 125 Years of Addis Ababa.

References
Aksum - UNESCO official website
Axum - Wikipedia

Sender: Adam Wole (direct swap)
Sent from Addis Ababa (Addis Ababa / Ethiopia), on 15.07.2016

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