Lalibela is thought by way of the first rate 11 church buildings hewn from strong rock.


Lalibela is certainly one of Ethiopia’s holiest places, dating returned to the twelfth century. Lalibela metropolis, formerly called Roha, named after one of the then Ethiopian rulers, King Lalibela (1181-1221), a member of the Zagwe dynasty. Lalibela is thought by way of the first rate 11 church buildings hewn from strong rock. built in the twelfth century, they may be still status in fantastic situation. most recall them because the 8th marvel of the arena, and is one of the international heritage web sites listed with the aid of UNESCO.

The church buildings are carved from smooth volcanic rock, some cut into the face of a cliff, even as others are remoted structures in deeply carved pits with lengthy get right of entry to passages or trenches. The earliest carved monuments won't were churches, but inside the 10th and eleventh centuries ad sophisticated church buildings of numerous styles have been created, with architectural capabilities that scholars accept as true with originated in historic Aksum, which flourished as much as 800 years formerly. The best examples are three-aisle or five-aisle basilicas, carved interior and out, with window openings as well as specified geometric ornamentation.

King Lalibela oversaw the very last extension of the church complex. this could have been to create an Ethiopian place of pilgrimage as an alternative to Jerusalem, which were captured early in King Lalibela’s reign by means of the Muslim Salah-ad-Din (acknowledged within the West as Saladin). that is meditated in neighborhood area names consisting of the “Church of Golgotha” (now containing the purported tomb of King Lalibela), “Yordanos” (Jordan) for the seasonal river that runs through the complex, and a close-by hill referred to as “Debra Zeit” (meaning Mount of Olives).

The maximum famous of the churches at Lalibela is “Beta Giyorgis” (The residence of Saint George). It is not a part of an interconnected complicated, but stands on its very own on a plinth in a rectangular pit 11 metres deep, with a 30 metre long approach trench. It has blind decrease windows, in an Aksumite style, with better open windows critical to every face while viewed from the out of doors.

Bet Abba Libanos
(Church of Abba Libanos) This rectangular church is in the eastern part of the complex, and is carved on all four sides, but is continuous with the rock above it. It is linked to a structure known as Bet Lehem.
Bet Gabriel and Rufael
(Church of Saints Gabriel and Raphael) This church is in the eastern part of the complex, and has a courtyard extending its north and south walls.
Bet Golgotha and Bet Mikael
(Church of Golgotha and Saint Mikael) The interconnected churches of Bet Golgotha and Bet Mika’el form the most mysterious complex in Lalibela. Its holiest shrine — the Selassie Chapel — is housed here, and, according to the whispers of the priests, perhaps even the tomb of King Lalibela himself. Some of the most beautiful processional crosses of Lalibela are here.
Bet Medhane Alem
(Church of the World Saviour) This church is in the northern part of the complex, and perhaps the oldest of the Lalibela churches. Bet Medhane Alem is the largest of all the Lalibela churches. Built like a Greek temple, it is unusual, being entirely surrounded by square columns, with a further forest of twenty-eight massive rectangular columns supporting the roof inside.
Bet Maryam
(Church of Mary) This rectangular church is the most ornate of the Lalibela churches and is surrounded by a trapezoidal courtyard.
Bet Danagel
(Church of the Virgins)This church is carved into the south wall of the courtyard of Bet Maryam. It is the most roughly hewn of the Lalibela churches.
Bet Giyorgis
(Church of Saint George) North of the Jordan River, but much further to the west, and somewhat isolated from the others, is the remarkable church of Bet Giyorgis, possibly the most elegant of all the Lalibela structures, located in the south-west of the village on a sloping rock terrace. In a deep pit with perpendicular walls, it can only be reached through a tunnel entered a distance away through a trench. Small round caves and chambers have been found in the courtyard walls — graves for devout pilgrims and monks. This famous church stands alone in the southwest. Dating to the early 13th century AD, it is the most recently built of the Lalibela churches.
Standing on a three-tiered platform, Bet Giyorgis is shaped like a Greek cross and has walls — with an alternation of projecting and recessing horizontal layers — reminiscent of Axumite architecture. The church also has an elaborately shaped doorway.
Sellassie Chapel
This is a small, rough, trapezoidal structure in the western part of the complex, related to the Bet Golgotha complex.
Bet Amanuel
(Church of Saint Emmanuel) This church is in the eastern part of the complex. It is linked to the courtyard of Bet Mekorios by a 35 metre long tunnel and has the most intricate external ornamentation. Bet Emanuel is perhaps the finest; its elaborate exterior is much praised by art historians. The structure contains a large hall with four pillars, and its irregularly placed windows arc Axumite in style, as are the walls. A spiral staircase leads up to an upper storey.
Chambers and cavities for sacred bees in the outer wall of the courtyard are a reminder of the bees that prophesied kingship to Lalibela. Some of the chambers, however, are the graves of monks and pilgrims who wanted to be buried in this ‘holy city’.
Bet Meskel
(Church of the Cross) This is a grotto church, partially carved out of the rock, and whose façade is level with the north wall of the courtyard of Bet Maryam.
Bet Merkorios
(Church of Saint Mercurios) This is a partial grotto church in the eastern part of the complex, with eight roughly hewn pillars in its façade.