Pilgrims continue to journey to the “New Jersualem,” built in reaction to the Muslim conquest of the Holy Land.
For centuries, Christian pilgrims — and tourists — have travelled to the mountainous region of northern Ethiopia to visit the 11 spectacular medieval churches carved out of rock.
After Muslim conquests blocked Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land, King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela, who ruled Ethiopia in the late 12th century and early 13th century, set out to construct a “New Jerusalem,” which remains a pilgrimage site and place of devotion to this day.
Christianity’s roots in Ethiopia go back to the time of the Apostles, who in the first century A.D. set out to spread the Gospel throughout the world. By the 4th century, it was adopted as the state religion during the reign of the ancient Aksumite emperor Ezana.