An eremite watches the celebrations outside of the church compound of Maryam Tsion (St. Mary of Zion), the holiest church in Ethiopia, and supposed resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. The yearly festival of St. Mary is the premiere holiday in Axum.
A boy walks past the entrance to the new Church of St. Mary of Zion (Maryam Tsion), in the compound of the old church (which women are not allowed in). The new church is a Haile Selassie I foundation, and reflects the Emperor’s (one might say questionable) taste for modernist building. The St. Mary of Zion church compound is the holiest in Ethiopia, as the chapel which is supposed to hold the true Ark of the Covenant lies between the new church and the old.