Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion

Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion

Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion
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Duration: 1-2 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.0
157 reviews
Excellent
41
Very good
56
Average
51
Poor
7
Terrible
2

Kim B
New York City, NY207 contributions
Mar 2020
The church that is open to the public is a cavernous space of no interest. The local deacons seems to want a tip for showing you the illuminated manuscript - new, and we'd already seen dozens. The real action here is the monastery, which is closed to visitors, especially women.
Written March 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robert S
Westbury, NY885 contributions
Jan 2020
The Church is architecturally exotic to the Western eye and quite beautiful. The inside is lovely with many lovely tapestries. The church is short walking distance from the Stelae field, a very old monastery and the building holding (according to Ethiopian belief) the Ark of the Covenant. It is well worth a visit
Written March 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stephne A
Shaka's Rock, South Africa749 contributions
Oct 2016 • Couples
This 4th century church has been partially destroyed by Islamist (Gragn) and Jewish (Gudit) leaders over the years so what remains is special. The Ark of the Covenant/Tabot is apparently housed within this compound but I did not see it!!
Bradt guide to Ethiopia gives some details which comes alive with a guide. Worth a visit.
Written October 28, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dan Lear
Ghent, Belgium128 contributions
Dec 2019
well preserved ancient church of the Aksumite empire. All the relics of Aksum really speak of advanced nature of the civilization and make you wonder what it must have been like back then
Written November 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

snowythepyro
London, UK0 contributions
Nov 2019
In contrast to the ancient (and ancient-looking) churches of elsewhere in Ethiopia, this is a modern beauty. Bright, airy and still with colourful murals, this is a relatively huge space for worship.
Written October 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ilse020
Kigali, Rwanda152 contributions
Apr 2018 • Couples
We were lucky to be here on Ethiopian Good Friday, which really showed how embedded religion is in the daily ones of Ethiopians.
There are actually two churches adjacent to each other. One is for men only, So I wasn't allowed in. The newer church was built to give women the opportunity to go to church as well. it is the holiest place in all of Ethiopia.
On the afternoon of Good Friday the whole town came to this church and its immediate surroundings. All dressed in white, chanting and praying. There were thousands of people there.
Written April 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nona C
Brier, WA96 contributions
Jul 2015 • Couples
Things don't have to be a 1000 years old in order to be interesting. We enjoyed seeing the more modern architecture and artistic styles.
Written September 29, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Finot-Tour-Ethiopia
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia132 contributions
May 2015
The 17th-century old Church of St. Mary of Zion shows Syrian influence. It is a squat, square structure surrounded by a colonnade, used by dancing priests during services. It has crenellated, fortress-like walls that reflect the site's violent past, and a hushed interior decorated with colorful murals and paintings. Inside the church is a vestibule, and beyond that is the Holy of Holies, closed to everyone but the priests. Male pilgrims cannot go beyond the vestibule and women are confined to the courtyard.
During services, the small church is quickly overwelmed by the crowds of worshippers, whose sonorous chanting rises and falls in a wave of sound. When the priests emerge from the Holy of Holies to carry the Gospel book in procession or bring the Eucharist to the people, they wear bright robes and are shielded by splendid ceremonial umbrellas.
The new St. Mary of Zion is modern in its architecture, more spacious than the old one, and decorated with colorful art. It was built in a modern interpretation of the Greek Byzantine style with Ethiopian influences. At the front of the church is a large painting depicting the Holy Trinity, the Twelve Apostles, and the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
Though religions have come and gone, Aksum remains a holy city throughout. Opposite the Northern Stelae Field, in a walled compound, lies the centre of the universe for Christian Ethiopians.
A church of some form or other has stood at this spot since the very earliest days of Ethiopian Christianity and it was God himself who, descending from heaven, indicated that a church should be built here, though the original church is long gone. The rectangular old church (men only) at the southern end of the complex is a remarkable example of traditional architecture built by the Emperor Fasiladas, the founder of Gonder, in 1665. Inside there are fine original murals, including a painting of the Nine Saints. Some say the foundation on which it sits may belong to Africa’s first church, supposedly erected by King Ezana in the 4th century and destroyed in the 9th century during Queen Gudit’s devastating raid, and then a rebuilt version was destroyed during the incursions of Ahmed Gragn the Left-Handed in 1535. More remains of this church can be seen next to the museum.
The huge new church of St Mary of Zion was built in the 1960s so women had a place to worship and it displays Haile Selassie’s usual hideous taste. Still it does cut a dramatic silhouette on the skyline. Beside it, a disproportionately tall bell tower, inspired by the stelae, sprouts heavenwards.
Nearby is a museum (soon to be moved and expanded) containing an impressive haul of treasure, including an unsurpassed collection of former Ethiopian rulers’ crowns and a dazzling display of gold and silver chalices, crosses, jewellery and even drums. It clearly demonstrates the immense wealth of the Church. Museum guides expect a tip.
Also of historical interest, beyond the gate in front of the old church, are the throne stones where local nobles were coronated.
Finally, in between the old and new churches, is the real reason for most people’s devotion: a tiny, carefully guarded chapel that houses what most Ethiopians believe is the legendary Ark of the Covenant . Don’t think you can take a peek: just one specially chosen guardian has access to the Ark. Nobody else is allowed in the chapel and foreigners aren’t even allowed to approach the fence guarding the chapel grounds because previously some foreigners tried to scale the fence and rush into the chapel! No matter what you think of the legend, there’s no denying that to be in this church compound during a major service or festival, when thousands of pilgrims pour into the city, is an experience of pure devotion and faith that that will leave you spellbound.
Note that the building currently has a leaky roof and the ark may be moved, at least temporarily.
Written August 3, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

The Weak Knee Traveler
Singapore, Singapore11,769 contributions
Nov 2019 • Solo
No doubt the exterior of the church looks pretty but it is pretty bare inside the church. And headscarf is needed for the church.
Written October 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SaigonDoug
Casablanca, Morocco370 contributions
Mar 2020 • Couples
Many tapestries on the walls telling stories of the Bible, very colorful. A very large space, like all churches you remove your shoes to enter. A very popular tourist and prayer site.
Written March 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, Axum

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