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LALIBELA

Lalibela (Roha the Wonderful): Perched at an altitude of 2,500 meters in the Amhara region, the small village of Lalibela has been home to an astonishing gem of religious architecture for the last eight centuries. Constructed of single blocks of stone, the village’s churches were added to the eighth wonder of the world. Lalibela, a medieval settlement in the Lasta area of Wello, lies at the centre of an extensive complex of rock churches. People come to Lalibela to see its amazing 12th-century rock-hewn churches, hewn straight out of the bedrock. Four are completelyfree‐standing, attached only to the surrounding rock by their bases. These are Beta Medhane Alem, the House of the Savior of the World; Beta Mariam, the House of Mary; Beta Ammanuel, the House of Emanuel; and Beta Ghiorghis, the House of St George.  The city is named after the 12th-century King Lalibela. There are a lot of legends about this King. One is that his older brother poisoned him and during three days sleep he was brought to heaven, where he was shown a city of rock hewn churches, which he replicated. Others say that he went into exile to Jerusalem and got a vision to create a New Jerusalem. And so it is. A small gorge is called The River Jordan and there is the tomb of Abraham.  All 11-rock churches were built within a century. The churches have been kept Alive by generations of priests who guard their treasures of ornamented crosses, Illuminated bibles and illustrated manuscripts.

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Photo's by Mekonen Zewdie ©2011 "Ethiopia At a Glance" www.ethiopiaataglance.com

lalibela

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