Monday, 26 May 2014

The Rock Hewn Churches Of Lalibela

One of the most amazing sites in Ethiopia is the 11 churches carved into the rock hillside of Lalibela. They're closer to giant sculptures than constructed churches, a huge endeavor of chiseling madness.

The churches date to the 12th century when King Lalibela decided he needed a "New Jerusalem." It's now, naturally, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The entrance to one of the churches. Pavilions have been constructed over several of the churches to protect them from the elements.

Taking a step inside. The churches are still active and priests are happy to show you around.

Another church.

A window detail shows a standard Ethiopian architectural design. Trenches connect many of the churches, a rough contrast to the refinement of the buildings.

Morning prayers.

More details, showing the variety of design.

One of the bigger churches, two stories tall. Yes, carved out of one piece of stone and including a multi-story floor plan.

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