Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela were put in the list of World Heritage Sites in 1978. The small town of Lalibela is located in Amhara Region in Northern Ethiopia. Its geographical location is 12º03’ North and 38º82’ East latitude and longitude, 642 kilometres from the Capital, Addis Ababa.
Lalibala is famed for its one of the world’s most incredible eleven monolithic rock hewn churches. It is considered by many as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’.
Lalibela still has big value among Ethiopian Orthodox Christians it is also one of the pilgrimage sites in Ethiopia. Lalibela churches are internationally-renowned for its rock-hewn churches which are sometimes called the physically prised from the rock in which they stand, these monolithic churches were originally thought to have been built in the 12th century during the reign of King Lalibela, but some have been dated back to the 10th century. There are eleven churches, assembled in three groupings:
- The Northern Group: Bete Medhane Alem, home to the Lalibela Cross and believed to be the largest monolithic church in the world. It is linked to Bete Maryam (possibly the oldest of the churches), Bete Golgotha (known for its arts and said to contain the tomb of King Lalibela), the Selassie Chapel and the Tomb of Adam.
- The Western Group: Bete Giyorgis, said to be the most finely executed and best preserved church.
- he Eastern Group: Bete Amanuel , Bete Merkorios, Bete Abba Libanos and Bete Gabriel-Rufael. Further a field lie the monastery of Ashetan Maryam and Yimrehane Kristos church.
The churches are hewn from red volcanic rock. Four of the churches are attached to their mother rock only at the base, while other churches have parts attached to the parent rock.