Dating back to the 12th and 13th Centuries, the churches are designated a World Heritage site.
Africa is a diverse continent rich in cultural artifacts and history. This continent has a lot of secrets for those who are patient and willing to explore.
The UNESCO site at Lalibela in Ethiopia is to be lit up with green lights this St Patrick’s Day, it was announced today.
The much-vaunted rock-hewn churches of Lalibela have lately become the surprising source of protests and local tensions.
Ethiopia is a beautiful country that is worth visiting without emptying your entire wallet.
Addis Ababa October 13/2018. The Rock-hewn Church of Lalibela, a world-renowned UNESCO world heritage site, needs an urgent repair, as the damage to the church is becoming serious. The monuments are severely degraded from water damage as the drainage ditches at the church were filled with earth for several centuries, before being cleared in the 20th century. A temporary shelter was built to protect the monuments from the rains, since erosion due mainly to weathering is damaging the stone surfaces of all the churches.
The rock churches of Lalibela are among the main attractions of any trip to Ethiopia. The stone monuments of faith belong since 1978 to the Unesco world cultural heritage.
The town looks inconspicuous and dusty. However, visitors will never forget what visitors discover as they wander around: churches made of rust-red tufa, and a labyrinth of tunnels, corridors, rock openings and bridges, all of which have the sole purpose of connecting the ancient houses of worship. It’s pure magic that awaits the stranger.
And at the latest, he will understand the Portuguese priest Francisco Alvarez, who wrote the following sentences at the beginning of the 16th century: “It is enough for me to write further about these monuments, because probably nobody will believe me.”
The miracle of Ethiopia
With these lines he wanted to make known the wonder of Ethiopia in Europe. Recognized by Unesco as a World Heritage Site in 1978, Labyrinth of Lalibela is still one of the highlights of every trip to Ethiopia. The unique: In Lalibela, the churches were carved out of the rock.
Read more from source: The rock churches of Lalibela in the highlands of Ethiopia
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.
Addis Ababa- A restoration program aimed at replacing the temporary shelter of one of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Bete Golgotha Mikael, will start this month, Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH) disclosed.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, ARCCH Cultural Heritage Conservation Director Hailu Zeleke said study of the project had to pass through critical evaluation from all stakeholders before approval.
The study conducted by international companies was followed by the assessment of Addis Ababa University and experts from the Authority.
According to the Director, the restoration is expected to get finalized by the middle of July this same year.
The rehabilitation project experience of Biete Golgotha Church is a pilot project to restore the other “Wonders of Lalibela,” Hailu revealed.
The U.S Ambassador’s AFCP program and World Monuments Fund cover the conservation cost of Biete Golgotha.
Negotiation is underway between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and United Nations Education Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) to find lasting solution to the threats facing the Lalilbel’s monolithic Rock-Hewn Churches.
Years ago, a metal roof was erected as temporary solution to protect possible cracks and damages caused by sun slights. But the shelter has not been removed for several years.
Some residents fear that the protective shield could be damaging to the churches, Getu Asefa, UNESCO Cultural Program Officer told The Ethiopian Herald. Negotiation is ongoing between the ministry and UNESCO to put in place other mechanisms that were proved effective in other churches such as Bete Geberael and Bete Rufael.
The metal shelters were meant to shield the churches from winds and sun light and should have been removed earlier as possible collapses may damage the churches.