Axum was at the centre of the Kingdom of Axum, between the 4th century BC and the 7th century AD. The modest city that stands today, just south of the border with Eritrea, was once the most powerful city in one of Africa's most powerful ancient kingdoms. A host of grand remnants can be seen today, from underground tombs to crumbling palaces - the reason for Axum's UNESCO World Heritage site status.
Littered around Axum are numerous grand stelae, the scattered leftovers of this great civilisation. The Great Stele is believed to be the largest single block of stone that humans have ever attempted to erect. It lays on its side in the Northern Stelae Field, which has more than 120 of these vast stone blocks - the biggest stelae site in Ethiopia. Here too is King Ezana's Stele and the Rome Stele, otherwise known as the Obelisk of Axum, which spent some time in the Italian capital at the behest of Mussolini.