Aksum's Treasures: Reminders of an Ancient Civilization

Created by Jurian ter Horst

Aksumite Heritage

The Ethiopian city of Aksum was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1980. Its cultural property encompasses the ancient Aksum town, which houses hundreds of stelae (granite monoliths), several churches, and other monumental structures. The monuments reflect the wealth and power of the ancient Aksumite civilization and illustrate a significant stage in human history. Although many of these architectural works are not in their original condition, remnants of them have stood the test of time.

When were these monuments created, and what was their function and meaning? What is the significant stage in human history that UNESCO refers to? Why are these pieces of architecture characteristic of Aksum? And what is Aksum's current status in Ethiopia? This exhibit shows contemporary pictures of the city of Aksum. It attempts to answer the aforementioned questions, and identify the city’s monumental value to Ethiopia.

Welcome to the ancient treasures of Aksum!


Special thanks to Dr. Catherine D'Andrea and Dr. Habtamu Mekonnen Taddesse for sharing their expertise.

Photographs by Dr. Barbara Winter

Drawings and maps by Carmen Kors

Webpage and exhibit by Jurian ter Horst, SFU Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology 2018 ©