Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lalibela Rock-Hewn Churches In Ethiopia

Did you know that Lalibela, a small town in northern Ethiopia, is known as the Jerusalem of Ethiopia and that it's home to 11 amazing rock-hewn churches?

Fikru Woldegiorgis, a guide who has lived there most of his life, tells CNN that "it is one of the very important places for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church people." He notes that "there is a belief that Lalibela pilgrims share the same blessing as pilgrims to Jerusalem. They have to come at least once in a lifetime."

According to this excellent CNN article, the churches were commissioned by King Lalibela in the 12th century. The churches are "carved out of volcanic tuff rock a variety of styles. Some of them were chiseled into the face of the rock, where others stand as isolated blocks, like the iconic church of Saint George, constructed in the shape of the cross."

UNESCO considers the churches to be world heritage sites and has an excellent article about them with more terrific photographs.

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