Axum is recognized as the first empire of Africa and the 3rd largest Empire of the world! Myth has it that King Solomon of Israel and Queen Sheba had a son named King Menelek. King Menelek was the first king of the Empire which created a mysterious lineage between Ethiopia and Israel. Rumor has it that the arc of the covenant from Mount Sinai was passed on to Ethiopia which gave the Empire ruling power and long roots to the Old Testament. Regardless of anthropological fact from fiction, the imperial capital of the Axum Empire was created at least three centuries before the birth of Christ and was the first African nation to accept Christianity. Axum is also home to the cathedral of Tsion Maryam which was founded in the 4th century. Tsion Maryam is Ethiopias oldest Christian sanctuary and is still regarded as the spiritual home of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity. Ethiopian's first church, the original Maryam Tsion church, which consisted of 12 temples, has been destroyed probably around the 16th - century. This illustrious nation formally recognized as Abysinnia was also home to the first acceptance of Islam in the 7th century.