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Aksum Obelisks

    Aksum Oblisks 

    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.      

    Managerial Challenges

    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.

    ·, (2014). Saylor Academy. [online] Available at: [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: [Accessed 12 Nov. 2014].

    ·         Wikipedia, (2014). Kingdom of Aksum. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Nov. 2014].

    Picture, (2014). [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Nov. 2014].

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    Comments (5)

    Viewing 5 of 5 comments: view all
    You choose a very good topic to discuss and I appreciate how you present the managerial problems and how you link your content with the literature. However, you should also have to make your topic interesting to reader as well as beware of grammatical mistakes for example you said “conservation action plans not developed” maybe putting “are” or using some connecting will make the sentence more understandable.

    Regards, edited 01:24, 17 Nov 2014
    Posted 01:19, 17 Nov 2014
    Thank you Yonas,
    That was a slip of the fingers, thanks anyways.
    Posted 01:47, 17 Nov 2014
    I like your topic. It is interesting for me to read. Also, you mentioned the managerial problems with the literature is good. Just as Yonas said, this are some small mistake when you typing. Maybe you are in hurry, I think you can make it better next time.
    Posted 12:18, 17 Nov 2014
    Hi again, I agree with the previous comments, it will certainly improve your writing and your texts will become better. However, I think more importantly is to address in your discussion on the managerial issues who is supposed to carry on with the action plans, how this process is organised, are there institutions that are supporting this process on the local, regional or national level, that is maybe something that you were able to talk about as you posses the local knowledge as nobody else does. Best, Albina
    Posted 22:12, 21 Nov 2014
    Thank you Albina,
    Yes there is an organization called Ethiopian Authority for Research on Conservation of Cultural Heritages (ARCCH), is responsible for any kind of activities regarding international and national heritage sites in the country. The challenge which i mentioned above is more linked with the surrounding community; thus conservation plan has to be convincing for the community that is why participating the locals on developing the conservation plan would be preferable for better outcomes. But in this scenario the authority is not working with the community rather than following the UNESCO's general guideline to secure international funds for its existence.
    Dinberu edited 12:55, 25 Nov 2014
    Posted 10:22, 24 Nov 2014
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