(Day 29) Day of Leisure at Lalibela – 28 April 2011
Distance for the day – 0 km Odometer – 9 605 km
Hours on the Bike – 00:00
Donations up to date for Adelaide Hospital – R 77 327.00
We decided today to visit some of the ancient churches of Lalibela. This is one of Ethiopia’s holiest cities, second only to Aksum, and is a centre of pilgrimage for much of the country. Unlike Aksum, the population of Lalibela is almost completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. Lalibela was intended to be a New Jerusalem in response to the capture of Jerusalem by Muslims, and many of its historic buildings take their name and layout from buildings in Jerusalem.
An ancient world, including 11 magnificent, medieval, rock-hewn churches, dimly lit passageways, hidden crypts and grotto’s, was carved into the red volcanic rock underlying this remote Ethiopian town almost a millennia ago by the Zagwe dynasty.
Though the dating of the churches is not well established, most are thought to have been built during the reign of King Lalibela, namely during the 12th and 13th centuries. There are 13 churches, assembled in four groups: (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
These structures are incredible to see and no surprise that they are considered one of the 7 wonders of the world. Each church had a priest sitting with his traditional clothes, busy reading from a bible. Locals would bring any type of plastic container with water to be blessed and will return home with Holy water to cure illnesses and give good health and prolong life.
It is definitely worth a visit and we enjoyed the stay at Mountain View a lot. Tomorrow we will continue north towards Axum.