Lalibela: Rock-Hewn Marvels

The area's most amazing church, carved out of sheer rock in 4th century AD.

The next morning, we traveled 300 km on gravel back roads to get to Lalibela, the country’s best-known site for rock-hewn churches. Tamrat, our driver, managed to get us safely up and down a myriad of hair-raising switchback roads. Between hairpin turns I managed to enjoy stunning scenery, patchwork quilts of green and golden fields, forests and jutting rock. The sun had been down for more than an hour when we arrived and checked into our hotel.

Lalibela’s churches were carved from massive rock formations around 4th century AD. Local legend has it that angels helped King Lalibela complete the task in record time. The churches are still used for services and we spotted many ancient men on pilgrimages, sitting outside the huge wooden doors. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to see the churches up on the mountain, but the ones in town were spectacular.

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