Lalibela – Rock hewn Churches

According to the legend there was a King Lalibela who had vision from God to create rock hewn cities.He wanted to fulfill that comand and Construction work begun with remarkable speed, which was scarely surprising. It was believed that angels joined the laborers by day and at night did double the amount of work which the men had done during the hours of daylight…
Today Lalibela’s rock hewn churches are real treasure of Ethiopia. UNESCO identifies 11 monolithic churches, which are divided into 4 groups. They are spectacular and unique for two main reasons

  1. they are not carve into the rock, but freed entirely from it (hewn from the living rock of monolithic blocks)
  2. buildings are so refined
The Map of Lalibela Site

The Map of Lalibela Site

In order to protect churches, its frescoes from water erosion, UNESCO has built horrible (in term of attractiveness) scaffolding and roofing, which makes taking photos more challenging.
We paid 700 Birrs for the ticket, which was valid for 2 people and for 4 days (We finally spent 2 days). Photo below: (have no idea what is written there except the price and Charlie’s name, but this is scan of our ticket:))

Lalibela ticket

We normally don’t take a guide while we are visiting attractions, but in case of Lalibela site it was a quite good decision. Our guide showed us many hidden tunnels and secret passages between the churches, which we probably would not even noticed walking alone. On the first day we were exploring Lalibela with Sabine and Puk (WOW– women on wheels), who already had arranged a guide. We joined them and shared the costs of a guide as well (I think the guide cost around 300 Birrs as we contributed 150). On the second day we were sightseeing on our own, which was also great as we could explore the site on our own terms.

Photos selection first day:

Useful things about Lalibela churches:

 

  • Some churches/ rooms can be visited only by man (Woman are NOT allowed)
  • The best known church of Saint George (Bet Giyorgis) was carved from solid red volcanic rock and was built as the last one.

 


According to the legend: Kind Lalibela firstly was supposed build 10 churches, however when he was nearly finishing, he was unexpectedly visited by Ethiopia’s patron saint George on a white horse. The saint was piqued as none of already built churches was dedicated to him. King Lalibela profusely apologised and promised him to built especially for him the most beautiful church of all. Today the priests show the hoofprints left behind the saint’s horse (permanently imprinted in stone on the side of the ditch)

Photo selection second day:

 

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