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Tigray’s Rich Heritage is ‘Highly Endangered’, Experts Warn

It has been hidden from view for thousands of years, and its whereabouts never proved. But if the Ark of the Covenant indeed rests in a chapel in northern Ethiopia, this extraordinary religious treasure could be at grave risk from fighting in the area. International experts have raised the alarm over the security of the ark and other religious and cultural artefacts as a result of escalating conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. The Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, which reputedly houses the ark – a casket of gilded wood containing stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, according to the Bible – was the scene of a recent massacre of 750 people, reports filtering out of the country say. Among those voicing concern are academics from the Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian and Eritrean Studies at Hamburg University, who warn that Tigray’s rich cultural heritage is “highly endangered”. In an appeal, they say reports suggest “hostilities are taking place in close proximity to renowned cultural sites”. They add: “There are reports of looting of manuscripts from Tigrayan churches and monasteries, and warnings that they will … be taken out of Ethiopia to be sold at antiquities markets in other countries.”

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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