The Ark of the Covenant was a great shrine that contained the tablets of the Ten Commandments that were received from God by Moses on Sinai. According to the Old Testament, the Ark was made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. It measured 1.15 m long, 0.7 m wide and 0.7 m high and was carried by two long bars, also made of gold-plated acacia wood. The Ark was guarded by cherubims that "spread forth their two wings over of the place of the ark" (I Kings 8:7).
Religious - Christianity
According to the Old Testament, the Israelites carried the Ark of the Covenant with them wherever they went, and it contained great divine power that proved fatal to many. When the Temple of Jerusalem was built, the Ark was enshrined there in the Holy of Holies and only seen by the High Priest.
At some point, the Ark disappeared from Jerusalem. The mystery of what became of such an important and sacred artifact continues to fascinate archaeologists, historians and believers alike. There are no shortage of theories as to its fate and current location, which include a Jerusalem tunnel and the top of Mt. Nebo in Jordan.
To Ethiopian Christians and Jews, the location of the Ark of the Covenant is no mystery. According to the Ethiopian royal chronicles, the Ark left Jerusalem much earlier than generally thought — in the days of King Solomon — and went to Ethiopia by the hand of Menelik, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. (The Old Testament tells of a meeting between the monarchs (1 Kings 10), but not a marriage or Prince Menelik.)
The Ark was then kept safe in Ethiopia over the millenia, carefully hidden during wars, and today it is enshrined in a special treasury next to the Church of St. Mary of Zion in Axum, Ethiopia.
This theory was popularized outside of Ethiopia through a 1990s book by British journalist Graham Hancock entitled The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Hancock argues that after the Ark was brought to Ethiopia by Menelik, it was kept there for 800 years by a Judaic cult. Then it was seized by the Knights Templar, who thought that it was the Holy Grail. The Knights converted the Jews, who then kept the Ark in a great church.
Several other researches have explored the possibility that the Lost Ark is in Ethiopia, reaching various conclusions. In The Quest for the Ark of the Covenant, Stuart Munro-Hay argues that Axum's shrine contains a stone altar that was probably produced long ago as a replica of Moses' stone tablets.
Munro-Hay's theory is a variation of what seems to be the most common consensus of scholars: there is something old and sacred enshrined at Axum, but it is probably not the Ark of the Covenant.
The Ark of the Covenant was long enshrined in the Church of St. Mary of Zion at Axum, and constructed specially for the purpose by Emperor Haile Selassie in the early 1960s.