DU Wiki > Ă„mnen - Subjects > Tourism studies > KG3012 > Seminar 1 Cultural and natural World Heritage sites > Africa's World Heritage Sites by Ingmar Mehrtens > Aksum Obelisks
By Dinberu T. Woldemariam
Aksum, well known as the ancient city of Ethiopian civilization and powerful kingdom, sited in the northern border of Ethiopia. The town of Aksum was established around 500 BC by Aksumit Kingdom (UNESCO, 2014). The kingdom was distinguished for their fine architecture work and it serves as a benchmark for introduction of Christianity in Ethiopia. Aksum riches in archaeological remains and stone-curved obelisks known as Stelae, royal tombs. More than 75 stelae scattered within 1000 meter square and from all standing royal tombs king Ezana is the longest one, 23 meters high block of solid granite (Briggs & Blatt, 2009).Though the longest stelae was erected by King Ramhi around the 3rd century and it would be over 33 meters high were it standing. Historian believed that it was one of the victims when Queen Yudit destroyed many of Aksum’s fine structures and Christian’s scriptures. The second longest, 26 meters, stelae was stolen by Italy in 1937 and returned back and erected on its origin in 2008 after long negotiations between two countries. In 1980 Aksum recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage and showed on the WHS list.
Aksum kingdom is point of reference for Ethiopian 3000 years civilization and the existence of this magnificent kingdom’s ruins has indescribable importance for the community as well for the nation to assure Ethiopians earliest civilization. Besides, the surrounding community generating income by doing tourist related businesses. As a tourist destination, different stakeholders like; city municipality, business owners, and the federal government, have made a lot of investment for infrastructures and tourist facilities (Sisay, 2009), which has a positive impact on the development of the city. In general, Aksum has an important role for the nation and its habitat.
Like other Ethiopia’s heritage sites, Aksum's boundary demarcation and buffer zone haven’t been clearly identified (UNESCO, 2014). Based on the inspection reported by UNESCO the conservation action plans are not yet developed and implemented for the site. Archaeological surveys testified that, the city of Aksum supposed to be bigger than the existing one. And it is believed that, most of the ruins of ancient Aksum city have been covered by different residential and business buildings. This can be taken as one of managerial challenges for the management since demarcation of the site needs residential resettlement, which may not be convenient for the surrounding community. As Aas mentioned different stakeholders participation on the planning and conserving heritage sites are more important especially for developing countries, like Ethiopia (Aas, 2005).
· Aas, C., Ladkin, A. and Fletcher, J. (2005). Stakeholder collaboration and heritage management. Annals of Tourism Research, 32(1), pp.28-48.
· Briggs, P. and Blatt, B. (2009). Ethiopia. Chalfont St Peter: Bradt Travel Guides.
· Saylor.org, (2014). Saylor Academy. [online] Available at: http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-conten...liskofAxum.pdf [Accessed 13 Nov. 2014].
· Sisay, A. (2009), Historical Development of Travel and Tourism in Ethiopia, Commercial Printing Press, Addis Ababa.
· UNESCO, (2014). UNESCO. [online] Available at: http://www.unesco.org [Accessed 12 Nov. 2014].
· Wikipedia, (2014). Kingdom of Aksum. [online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Aksum [Accessed 14 Nov. 2014].
Whc.unesco.org, (2014). [online] Available at: http://whc.unesco.org/uploads/thumbs...0920195409.jpg [Accessed 15 Nov. 2014].
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