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Many tourists visit Ethiopia's Aksum city to see its monuments
“If the stelae falls, Ethiopian history will fall apart,” the director of archaeology and tourism at the University of Aksum, Tekleberhan Legesse, told BBC Tigrinya.
“History will blame us. We will be ashamed of our age,” he added.
The granite stelae, obelisks and royal tombs in the historic city of Aksum are the pride of Ethiopians. These ruins date back to the ancient Kingdom of Aksum, making them a popular tourist attraction.
But now, one of these stelae, 24 metres tall and weighing 160 tonnes, has tilted backwards, raising fears that it could eventually fall down.
“There is water under the basement of stelae number three. If it increases, it may erode the soft sand and leave the stelae under a rough surface which could damage it. Because of this the whole stelae might collapse,” Aksum’s head of tourism, Gebremedihn Fitusmberhan, said.
We tried to walk down to the tombs beneath the stelae, but could not reach them – the area was flooded with water, and the tombs had cracked.
Fortunately, the Ethiopia government’s heritage authority has set up a committee of experts to look into the problem, and save the stelae from collapse.
Otherwise, the children of Aksum, who welcome tourists to the city and try to sell them souvenirs and give them guided tours, will lose their income and history.Source: BBC