Lalibela, the Jerusalem of Africa

Lalibela, in Ethiopia, is a place with a fascinating history that catches you, in the middle of their adobe houses, impressive churches and passageways carved into the rock. You will feel transported to an Indiana Jones movie, in search of the Ark of the Covenant, which is said to have been here at some point. Come with us and meet Lalibela, the Jerusalem of Africa.

Lalibela, a town lost in the highlands north of Ethiopia, is considered one of the most important religious centers of Ethiopian Christianity and a busy pilgrimage goal. Here you will find an exceptional set of churches and monolithic rock buildings, sculpted - not built - in the rocky and dry subsoil of Africa.

Bete Giorgis - Galyna Andrushko

These churches do not arise, but they sink into the ground, they were sculpted with the purpose of creating a new Jerusalem in Africa during the Middle Ages. Currently they are institutions that keep the cult alive, as religious ceremonies are held in an environment typical of other times.

The churches of Lalibela, hidden for many centuries

The villages located in the mountains of central Ethiopia, almost 3,000 meters high, they are not very accessible in the rainy season, which has contributed to their isolation for centuries. Therefore, you will not give credit to your eyes when suddenly the ground sinks and the lines of a cross-shaped temple appear.

Bete Giorgis - Dmitry Chulov

The churches of Lalibela have no point of comparison in the world, these churches escape any classification because they simply They do not conform to any known architectural current. They are buildings that fit perfectly in the rock with finely carved windows and adorned with Ethiopian crosses.

The legend of King Lalibela

Lalibela, was the name given to the people in honor of the king of the Zagwe dynasty, which reigned between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Bete Amanuel - Anton_Ivanov

Legend has it that the king showed signs of holiness since his birth. His mother called him Lalibela, which means "the bees recognize the king" because when he was a baby he was surrounded by a swarm of bees without being bitten.

His older brother, driven by jealousy for the attention his younger brother received, tried to kill him, but fell asleep. The legend says that the angels transported Lalibela to heaven, to the heavenly Jerusalem. In this deep dream they showed him a type of temples that they wanted him to build on earth, then they helped him build them and the work was finished in 24 years.

"God does not send impossible things, but, by sending what he commands, he invites you to do what you can and ask for what you cannot and helps you so that you can."

-San Agustin-

In his eagerness to build temples, they say that Lalibela came to sell his own children as slaves in order to finish the work. Before he died, he retired to live as a monk in one of them.

The mystery of the construction of the Churches of Lalibela

Historians have concluded that the workforce of more than 40,000 thousand Egyptians was needed to sculpt the twelve churches of Lalibela, although today it is still a mystery to everyone why it was built in Ethiopia and not in Egypt.

Lalibela - Dmitry Chulov

Engineers who have studied its design have concluded that its construction is scientifically inexplicable. It's a mystery how they reached perfection architectural techniques to sculpt the churches, with exact and defined lines, considered too advanced for the medieval era in which they were built, since we would currently have to use saws and chisels.

The churches

The churches of Lalibela are grouped in Celestial Jerusalem and Earthly Jerusalem, Between both groups is a stream called Jordan.

Celestial Jerusalem

The churches are: Savior of the World (Medahne Alem), Santa Maria (Bete Maryam), Santa Cruz (Bete Meskel), Virgin Martyrs (Bete Denaghel), San Miguel (Bete Kidus Mikael) or Mount Sinai (Debre Sina) and Holy Golgotha ​​(Bete Golgotta), in the latter do not allow entry to women.

Earthly Jerusalem

These are: Emmanuel (Bete Ammanuel), San Mercurio (Bete Merkorios), Santos Gabriel and Rafael (Bete Kidus Gabriel ena Rafael) and Father Lebanon (Bete Aba Libanos).

Bete Gabriel-Rufael - milosk50

The church of San Jorge (Bete Giorgis), is considered the most impressive of all. It is separated from the two groups by the Jordan River, has a more complex architecture because it has a cruciform plan and has three huge crosses carved into the roof.

When visiting Lalibela, you can experience a mixture of magic and emotion. Know these overwhelming churches and the wonder of its creation, together with its legend, will not leave you indifferent.

Video: Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia in HD (January 2020).