The churches of Lalibela

The churches of Lalibela are the Ethiopian version of the famous city Petra in Jordan. It is located in the northern part of today's Ethiopian province of Wollo and is surrounded by rocky and impenetrable mountains. When they reach it, tourists have the feeling that they have entered some ancient kingdom. The unique medieval, monolithic churches of the 13th century in this "New Jerusalem" are among Ethiopia's most important historical sites.

Whether you are interested in religious architecture or not, the monuments inspire a sense of awe. Located at 2630 meters high, the monastery complex of Lalibela is a desolate and lonely place - the subject of annual mass pilgrimages. Located in the heart of Ethiopia, not far from a village of traditional round houses, the churches of Lalibela are cut into the rock massif so that their roofs are at ground level.

All 11 temples were built within a century, and legend has it that angels came to the aid of the builders. To fully appreciate this feat of human genius, the sites need to be seen up close - some of these are not at all noticeable in the deep excavations in which they are found, and others are in more open, cave-like spaces entities formed by continuous quarrying of stone in these places.

The churches are interconnected by a veritable labyrinth of narrow, rock-cut passages and tunnels with numerous side crypts, niches and galleries. It is a damp and silent underworld, inaccessible to the echoing chants of the praying mantis, that reveals its secrets only to those who examine it closely. Bookmark and Share

The churches of Lalibela photogallery

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What to see in Lalibela

Over time, the once thriving and populous capital of medieval Ethiopia turned into a small settlement. Lalibela's churches have been preserved thanks to the care of generations of priests who kept there their treasures of ornate crosses, illustrated Bibles and miniature manuscripts. From the road we climb to it, Lalibela is quite inconspicuous against the background of the 4200 meter high Abuna Yosef peak rising above the surrounding area.

Hello traveling people! I present to you an extraordinary country from which we returned three days ago. Ethiopia captivated me forever! We had the opportunity to explore the central and northern parts without Axum and Tigray because of the situation there! For history buffs, I highly recommend it! Beth Medhani Alem ("House of the Savior of the World") is a church of the Ethiopian Orthodox denomination located in the city of Lalibela, in the Amhara region of Ethiopia.

It was built in the 13th century most likely by Emperor Gebremeskel Lalibela of the Zagwe dynasty and is the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world. It is one of the eleven monolithic churches in Lalibela that were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, and is part of a group of six churches located north of the local Jordan River.

Their builders wanted to present it as a reproduction of the Church of St. Mary of Zion from Aksum, destroyed in 1535 during the invasion of the army of Ahmed Ibn Ibrahim Al-Ghazi. Bet Medhane Alem is the largest and tallest temple in the Lalibela complex with an interior space of around 10,000 cubic meters and it is estimated that 15,000 cubic meters of rock was removed for its construction.

From the point of view of the device, the colonnade of 34 square supports that surrounds the church stands out. It corresponds to the characteristics of a basilica with three entrances, is not painted and is divided into five naves. The church houses one of the greatest Ethiopian ecclesiastical treasures - the Lalibela Cross.

Lalibela, the last, emblematic, monolithic without columns "St.George" Only those baptized in the Jordan River have the right to burial in niches in the courtyard. Forgive my presence in certain shots, but I was there anyway.

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