The northern Ethiopian town of Lalibela is, without a doubt, the most visited destination in the country and for very good reason, those magnificent rock hewn churches.
The town is named after Saint Gebre Mesqel Lalibela when the town at that stage was known as Roha. The town is also known as the New Jerusalem due to her numerous religious sites; the local river is even called the River Jordan. So yes, this is a very religious orientated part of Ethiopia (and scenic for that matter).
Lalibela and her churches have to be one of the most amazing destinations I have ever had the please of visiting. Would I recommend a day or two here? Yes, even if you are not the religious type, the history and architecture will blow you away.
- LalibelaLalibela is approximately 2500m above sea level which is rather high but most standards and as we found rather lacking in oxygen levels. So when walking between the churches do not be surprised that one's lungs take a bit of strain, just ask your guide for a minute or two's rest and you will start feeling good again.
- Lalibela Churches Southern ClusterThe town of Lalibela hosts some of the Worlds most amazing Rock hewn churches dating back to around the 13 century. On this page, we get to explore the "Southern Cluster" of these churches, by Southern Cluster we mean the grouping of Churches south of the River Jordan.
- Lalibela Churches Northern ClusterWe explore the "Northern Cluster" of Lalibela's rock hewn churches on this page, by Northern Cluster, we mean the grouping of Churches north of the River Jordan. These Northern churches are from what we were told, are older than the southern cluster and the workmanship shows that to be true (ish).
- Yemrehanna KristosAbout a 90-minute drive from the town of Lalibela and driving through totally magnificent scenery one finds a church that is built inside a cave. Yemrehanna Kristos dates back to 1100 to 1200 AD period in Ethiopia's history; some say this church predates even the rock hewn churches of Lalibela itself.
- Bet Giyorgis ChurchBet Giyorgis is the most famous of Lalibela's rock hewn churches and gets its name from the patron saint of Ethiopia, St George. The church lies uncovered unlike all the other churches and is accessible by a short walk from either of the clusters (often described as the "8th Wonder of the World").