No visit to Ethiopia is complete without a visit to Lalibela. This is, without doubt, the Jewel in the Crown. Lalibela is a World Heritage site and Ethiopians would say that it should be one of the Wonders of the World.
There are thirteen Lalibela rock churches all cut down into the sandstone. They are all places of worship that are used every day. It is important for the visitor to remember that to visit them is a privilege and to respect the culture and religion when entering them.
In the 12th century, King Lalibela set about recreating Jerusalem. Maybe because Ethiopia had been cut off from the Holy Land by the growing Muslim religion in the countries bordering the Red Sea, Christians in Ethiopia were cut off from their core. Whatever, the distance to Jerusalem was huge and clearly there was a need to preserve Christianity by creating a centre of worship. Legend has it that King Lalibela sought the assistance of angles in the construction of the churches. Since they are carved downwards into the rock they are surrounded by a maze of alleyways that were used in the removal of the sandstone.
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