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Details of Lalibela

The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are a definite must see in Ethiopia. It’s not surprising that they are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as one of the most visited destinations in Ethiopia.

The complex of eleven churches and chapels were created under the direction of King Lalibela who wanted to build a Jerusalem in Ethiopia in response to the capture of old Jerusalem in 1187. The churches were carved from single rock pieces to symbolise spirituality and humility. The most spectacular rock-hewn church in Lalibela is Bete Giyorgis (St. George), a 15m tall monolith surrounded by a gaping subterranean trench.

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The eleven Lalibela churches were carved from red volcanic rock in the 13th century. Legend has it that men carved the church during the day, while angels carved during the night. Each church has a unique story behind it and draw in thousands of Christian pilgrims each year. Ancient texts and relics within these churches remain just as much in use today as they were 1,000 years ago.

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