Churches of Lalibela and Attractions

We like to provide you some information about the country, the culture, the weather and especially about Lalibela, where we come from.

 Ethiopia…

Ethiopia houses of the greatest concentrations of World Heritage sites in Africa, ranging from ancient stelae fields to dramatic mountains shielding unique fauna of mount Abune Yosef, Ras Dashin and Bale.

Lalibela…

Lalibela (708km Asphalt and gravel road from Addis Ababa) is a remote village in the northern part of Ethiopia, perched at 2,630 meters in craggy mountains, which is famous for rock-cut churches of the 12th Century.

These are an incredible accomplishment from the 12th Century, made even more astonishing by the lack of any adequate explanation of how they were built, when there is no archaeological evidence of there having been a community large enough to have provided the Labour.

After Lalibela built the churches, the town, formerly known as Roha, became known as Lalibela and began to draw thousands of pilgrimage around the world. Although his dynasty was overthrown, Lalibela is still referred as a saint.

The churches are excavated from sloping mass of red volcanic scoria under laid by dark grey basalt and interconnected by maze of tunnels and passages with openings to hermit caves and catacombs the rock-hewn churches give the impression of underground city. But not only have the rock-churches survived until today. Sometimes far older has, too. The churches are for at least 900+ years the religious and spiritual centre of the region.

Lalibela is still referred to as a New Jerusalem, with a river named Jordan and sites corresponding to the holy places of the great city.

There are two main groups of churches, with another church dedicated to Saint George a short distance away. All eleven rock-hewn churches can be visited within two days.

From the street and even closer they are hardly visible, something that has preserved them until today. Some churches are monolithic, some of the basilica type, having archaic features and imitating architectural elements from earlier periods, some of them are remarkably similar to the architecture of ancient Axum (Northern Ethiopia), yet each church has its individual styles.

Bet Giyorgis, the most elegant church, lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the village on a sloping rock terrace. It can be only reached through a tunnel walk way.