Church Entrance, Lalibela, Ethiopia

Lalibela

The small Ethiopian town of Lalibela is the eighth wonder of the world and is home to one of the world's most astounding sacred sites, the 13 rock-hewn churches, each carved entirely out of a single block of granite with its roof at ground level.

Some of the churches lie almost completely hidden in deep trenches, while others stand in open quarried caves. A complex and bewildering labyrinth of tunnels and narrow passageways with offset crypts, grottoes and galleries connects the churches. Lalibela is one place you should not miss whilst in Ethiopia.

The town of Lalibela was originally known as Roha but was renamed after the 12th-century King Lalibela, who commissioned the extraordinary churches. Were it not for these extraordinary rock-hewn churches, Lalibela could easily be overlooked. Nestled in the gently sloping countryside this small dusty rural town has only had electricity since the late 1990s: it is fair to say that the town is very much isolated from the modern world. A perfect town for exploration, its history offers a certain amount of intrigue for the discerning and culturally interested traveller.  However it must be noted that getting down into the churches requires some dexterity, as the steps can be steep, rocky and rough.

Due to the town’s very recent introduction to modernization accommodation can be limited, though in our opinion, this adds to the charm of staying in this quaint Ethiopian cultural town.

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