- Location: Ethiopia
- Best Time to Visit: January
- How to reach: Getting to Lalibela is also easy and convenient. The place is not very far from Addis Ababa and is linked by a road network. You can get cars, buses or four wheelers to reach Lalibela. The nearest airport is at Addis Ababa.
- Nearest International Airport: Bole International Airport
- Time required for sightseeing:5-6 hours
Legend has it that these churches were built by the angels with their own hands. No level of human expertise was thought to be sufficient enough to carry out these stupendous feats, without overt divine inspiration and direct assistance. A visit to the Rock-Hewn Churches at Lalibela in Ethiopia will make you feel very much the same way. Located in Ethiopia, these monolithic cave churches are examples of the rich ancient heritage of this ancient African country.
The Rock-Hewn Churches in Lalibela were built in the 13th century and consist of a series of 11 rock-cut cave churches. They are located in the mountainous region in the central part of the country. Lalibela was an important center for the Christian religion since ancient times and this has led to the construction of these churches in the region.
According to legends, it was King Lalibela who was instructed by God to build 10 churches in the area. It was King Lalibela’s brother Harbay who first started the construction of the churches. Due to the rich religious fervor of the place, the place is also known as ‘New Jerusalem’. The churches are listed among the World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.
The Rock-Hewn Churches in Lalibela were constructed from massive volcanic rock soil. They are divided into three distinct groups. The Northern Group of Churches rank among the world’s largest monolithic churches and are known for their rich carvings. The Western Group of Churches consists of the Beta Giorgis, which is one of the best-preserved monolithic churches in the world. Some of the well-known churches in the Eastern Group are Beta Amanull, Beta Merkorios, Beta Abba Libanos, and Beta Gabriel-Rafael.
The Church of St. George is one of the renowned rock-hewn churches in Lalibela. It is a famous monolithic church and is located in the Amhara Region. Popularly known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, this church was the last built of the 11 churches. The church consists of huge dimensions. You can also have a dip in the small baptismal pool located outside the church. The waters of the pool are considered to be holy.
The ideal time for making trips to Lalibela is in the months of January during the Timkat Festivals. The festival is celebrated with great pomp and frolic. You can buy a wide range of handicrafts and local artifacts from the local fairs that take place during the festival.
Getting to Lalibela is also easy and convenient. The place is not very far from Addis Ababa and is linked by a road network. You can get cars, buses or four wheelers to reach Lalibela. The nearest airport is at Addis Ababa.
Related Links :
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=IEdiy7tRPTo&feature=related: This is the first of a two part audio-visual documentary on the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela. It presents amazing views of the churches as well as comprehensive information on its history and development, through English subtitles.