Axum is a town of Legends offering a glimpse to a truly remarkable past. It’s littered with the ruins of palaces, underground tombs, mysterious monolithic stelaes, which are the largest in the world and carved from single piece of granite, inscriptions and many historical relics. The founding of the Empire of Axum in the 5th century BC is often taken as the starting point of the Ethiopian civilisation. The Kingdom maintained trading relations both with the Greec-Roman world and with India and China during it's most prosperous times. During the Axumite times the old Ge-ez became the official language and it is still used in the Ethiopian church. Axum had a rich architecture as appears from the big obelisks, still to be seen, and still an inspiration for modern builders. Axum continued to be the crowning place for the Royals until Ras Tafari, Emperor Haile Selassie. The church St Mary of Zion is the place where, according to tradition, and later researched by the journalist Graham Hancock in the book 'The Sign and the Seal the Ark of the Covenant resides. The decline of the Axum started with the rising of Islam in Arabia and its growth in Africa and Asia. Axum got shut off from her trading partners and populations in the region revolted against a weakening centre The town is also home for several incredible monasteries like “Debre Damo”, which can be reached only by climbing a rope up a steep cliff side.