Thursday, May 19, 2011


The 11 12th-century churches chiselled out of red volcanic rock at Lalibela still hum with the sound of murmured prayer and the shuffle of bare feet.

Lalibela is a town in northern Ethiopia, known for its monolithic churches. Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest cities, second only to Aksum, and is a center of pilgrimage for much of the country. Unlike Aksum, the population of Lalibela is almost completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. The layout and names of the major buildings in Lalibela are widely accepted, especially by the local clergy, to be a symbolic representation of Jerusalem. This has led some experts to date the current form of its famous churches to the years following the capture of Jerusalem in 1187 by the Muslim soldier Saladin.

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