Does the famous Ark of the Covenant actually reside in Ethiopia?

SOME OF MY FRIENDS CHIDE ME ABOUT MY WORLD TRAVELS and jokingly refer to me as Indiana Jones. Maybe it’s the hat I wear when I’m traveling,

my bizarre adventures or the seemingly near-death experiences I always seem to escape from unscathed. If you saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, you probably know Indiana Jones had to journey across the world to get near the Ark of the Covenant, and still never really saw it. Well, that’s now one more thing we have in common!

Ethiopians claim that the ark was never lost, as is believed by most historians, but has been in their country for centuries. Whether that’s true or not is a matter of great speculation. According to legend and many historical records, the Queen of Sheba journeyed from Ethiopia to Jerusalem where she met King Solomon. One thing led to another and after Sheba returned to her country, their son Menelik I was born.

Menelik traveled back to Jerusalem to meet his father some years later and was accompanied on his return journey to Ethiopia by some Israelite “first born” escorts. Unbeknownst to Menelik, his traveling companions “borrowed” the sacred Ark of the Covenant from Solomon’s temple. Menelik’s initial anger transformed into a resolution that this was all a part of God’s plan, or otherwise such a thing would not have been possible.

24166861593 847fdca514 k yhxsop

An Ethiopian priest in Aksum shows an illuminated manuscript featuring Jesus on the cross and being cradled as an infant by Mary.

Ethiopians claim that for thousands of years, the ancient vessel containing the “First Edition” of the Ten Commandments has been carefully guarded by the descendants of Menelik. The successive kings were all descended from the same lineage of Solomon and Menelik until the last king of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, who met his demise at the hands of the Derg in 1975. The capital of the kingdom has moved to several cities since, and the ark followed—until it was moved to its present location of Aksum in the northern highlands of the country.

No one is allowed to see the ark except for the sole guardian and protector of the holy relic. Even the leader of the Ethiopian church is not allowed admission. One person is appointed to guard the ark and stays within its shrine until his death. Sound familiar? Maybe a little like the Indiana Jones movie where the one knight is guarding the Holy Grail? I’m not saying Steven Spielberg borrowed an idea or two from Ethiopian history, but rather he might have just stolen that whole bit.

So, how do you get close to the ark of the covenant? First, you’ve got to fly to Ethiopia. It’s easier than you think, with a stopover in Germany or Paris and then on to the capital, Addis Ababa. Even though Ethiopia is situated in the most volatile region of the planet, next to countries such as Yemen, Somalia and Eritrea, the country is very stable, the people are extremely peaceful, and Christians make up nearly two-thirds of the population.

That statistic might come as a surprise for many, but Ethiopia was the second country to adopt Christianity and is today one of the most devoutly Christian countries in the world. Many of the ancient temples are still in use and biblical verses painted on goat skins centuries ago are still read by the devout.

16242012193 573789a8d9 k wk9ace

Monasteries such as this, on the Zege Peninsula of Lake Tana, were built between the 14th and 17th centuries.

You could begin your journey in Bahir Dar, on Lake Tana. It’s an hour flight from Addis or a grueling 10-hour bus ride. Take the plane: Flights with Ethiopian Airlines are relatively inexpensive and much more pleasant than overland travel. Lake Tana is one of the two sources of the Nile, so theoretically, you could get in a boat and sail all the way to the Mediterranean, if not for the borders and dams in your way.

What’s also special about Lake Tana is that the ark was supposedly hidden on one of the islands for 400 years. It was moved hundreds of years ago, but you can visit the monastery island of Tana Qirqos (as long as you’re not a woman) and walk the grounds where the holy object was allegedly kept from would-be marauders. You can hire a boat and visit several of the monasteries on the various islands, see a few hippos, and buy some interesting souvenirs. You won’t see the ark, but you’ll see many stories painted centuries ago adorning the walls that recount biblical and mythological stories from the past.

From Bahir Dar, you fly to Aksum. Aksum is the northernmost city in Ethiopia. It was the center of the Ethiopian kingdom between 100 and 940 A.D. and has several worthwhile places to visit. The monolithic stelae are reminiscent of Egyptian obelisks. You’ll also find a natural pool where Sheba supposedly swam and King Ezana’s tablet, the Ethiopian equivalent of the Rosetta stone.

24498208080 fc048b792b k qhhady

Inside the “new” church of St. Mary of Zion, built in the 1950s.

Taking up the main center of town is St. Mary of Zion, a church built in the 1960s that seems much older. It’s made up of several buildings, the most famous of which never gets visited by anyone. It’s a small chapel surrounded by barbed wire and security. Only one man is allowed in The Chapel of the Tablet and he is not allowed to leave the grounds until his death. And that’s where your journey ends. You’ll never get any closer to the Ark of the Covenant than this, so enjoy!

You can stand in front of the building, take a selfie with the famous chapel, and hope that the Ark doesn’t melt your face like the Nazi bad guy in Indiana Jones. Is it really in there? Who knows? No one will be able to dispute your claim because there is no proof that it’s there and there’s no proof that it’s not there. I suppose if enough Ethiopians believe in it, however, you may as well believe in it too.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TechnoratiSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
Rate this item
(0 votes)


  • floozyspeak

    floozyspeak - Friday, 18 January 2019

    silver orange womens nike air max thea shoes michael kors jet set bag white nike foamposite one pro asteroid camo monk malik jersey xl nike free nr hombres verde air jordan retro 5 femmes

  • perlai

    perlai - Friday, 18 January 2019

    oakland raiders 15 michael crabtree olive 2017 salute to service limited jersey ralph lauren womens crew neck jumper nike free boots what is ray ban tech mackage romane jacket nike shox man 2015 2015 white green

  • gregnovak

    gregnovak - Friday, 18 January 2019

    jordan 13 infant finish line edmonton oilers 97 connor mcdavid green salute to service stitched nhl jersey hermes snakeskin belt oakley sunglasses custom varsity best in colour florida marlins new era mlb black denim 59fifty cap black teal oakley marine fade frogskins sunglasses not working

  • consultdoing

    consultdoing - Friday, 18 January 2019

    coach chelsea leather tote 13 elite kelvin benjamin carolina panthers jersey team road two tone nike air max direct mens white green red black mens nike kobe 7 shoes adidas originals chalk white tubular viral trainers philadelphia flyers black jersey

  • sterneanswers

    sterneanswers - Friday, 18 January 2019

    ray ban wayfarer 50mm black mackage perfecto leather jacket nike air force 1 flyknit high brown grey orange womens nike huarache high shoes white new balance 990 nike roshe one rosherun

  • Douglasnut

    Douglasnut - Friday, 18 January 2019

    online canadian pharmacy canadian pharmaceuticals
    canada medications cheap [url=][/url]
    online pharmacies in usa
    [url=]canadian pharmaceuticals online[/url]
    online canadian pharmacy
    canadian drug store

  • cliffsears

    cliffsears - Friday, 18 January 2019

    nfl dante fowler jr womens limited camo jersey 56 los angeles rams nike 2018 salute to service adidas porsche typ 64 gelb gold nike air max tailwind 5 mennns l酶ping sko air jordan 7 retro herren schuh insoles mujeres nike air max tailwind 7 corriendo zapatos yeezy nike rockets 15 clint capela red nba swingman city edition 201819 jersey

  • gokcenotoboya

    gokcenotoboya - Friday, 18 January 2019

    nike thunder 7 carmelo anthony white nba authentic association edition jersey nike mens rob gronkowski elite navy blue home jersey new england patriots nfl 87 drift fashion air jordan 4 retro hombres zapato maker nike casual schuhe gr眉n gold nike air max zero mennns hvit out dam盲nner nike air max bw grau gold

  • arcadeabit

    arcadeabit - Friday, 18 January 2019

    air jordan eclipse s酶lv orange nike flyknit roshe run amarillo nike shox deliver blanco plata ring adidas rose grigio rosa nike air max 2016 todas blanco oro nike free flyknit 5.0 s酶lv sort

  • plusjulesmumm

    plusjulesmumm - Friday, 18 January 2019

    air jordan retro 10 kvinners bl氓 r酶d air jordan retro 5 rosa gr酶nn femminile nike free flyknit 5.0 blu arancia adidas pr酶dator powerswerve rugby for salg nike cortez chaussures gang related nike lebron 13 femmes argent vert

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

Information for All

Go to top