Lalibela: Ethiopia’s holiest city and a center of pilgrimage
The town of Lalibela is found 776 km north of Addis Ababa in mountains central highland part of Ethiopia. It was the capital of Zagwe Dynasty for three hundred years. Roha was its former name before it was renamed after King Lalibela. Being unofficial “eighth wonder of the world” Lalibela hosts the world’s most unique outstanding sacred sites: eleven rock-hewn churches, each carved entirely out of a single block of granite with its roof at ground level. They lie between the east and west of river Jordan. The churches entirely separated from the surrounding rock by deep trenches as they are excavated.
As Lalibela is a renowned destination it’s also still today a place of pilgrimage and devotion. Each of the churches separated from the surrounding rock by a tunnel. King Lalibela has curved the churches with different arts that catch’s For instance: in Bete Medhanlem the roof decorated with Greeks style of Temple, an Axumite style in Bete Emanuel and Aba Libanos and Bete Giyorgis prefect as uniquely elsewhere you can find it. Others also stand with their own peculiar characters. Most of them, the roof, also natural, is a bit lower than the surrounding plateau and is decorated with relief ornaments on the top
Religious ritual is central to the life of the town, especially crowds of singing and dancing priests during Ethiopian Christmas and Epiphany. This extraordinary religious art and rock architecture give the town of Lalibela a distinctively timeless, almost Biblical atmosphere.