|This was the first church completed by King Lalibela.|
There were 12 churches carved below ground level
to keep them unseen from invading armies.
|This is the Church of St. Mary, the 2nd one carved out of rock.|
Some anthropologists estimate they took 23 years to
be completed by 40,000 workers!
|Symbol from Axum|
|The bottom window symbolizes|
the key to heaven.
|Communion is prepared behind|
this door. All 12 churches are in
|This is a window with the Latin Cross|
|Each church has a replica of the Ark of the Covenant.|
They are always behind a curtain and seen only by
the priests. The carvings above are King Lalibela's
shields and crown.
|This is our guide, Getachew, demonstrating playing|
the drum used during mass. Everything in the
churches has LOTS of symbolism, including the
This window at the top symbolizes
|This is the fertility pool where once|
a year barren women come and
are dipped in the water 3x.
|The bottom window is the Roman cross.|
|The circles at the corners of every pillar symbolize|
angels' eyes that watch over all of us.
|This arch represents Noah's ark and this is the dove|
with an olive branch in his beak.
|This is a house we passed as we walked from one cluster|
of churches to another one.
|This is one of several tukuls over 300 years old. They|
are not currently in use. The animals slept in the bottom
part and the family in the upper level.
|This is the last church King Lalibela built. It is|
the Church of St. George. It really was AMAZING!
|It is surrounded by beautiful scenery!|
|Across from the Church of St. George|
|It was quite a walk to get to the bottom|
but here is the church.
|This is "holy grass" in water.|
It is picked and used for rituals on
|This symbolizes Mount Ararat where|
Noah's ark came to rest. The straight
line in the wall at the right symbolizes
|Behind this door are mummies of|
pilgrims that walked from Jerusalem
to Ethiopia hundreds of years ago!
|This is on the way to the second|
cluster of churches. This is called
the Stairway to Heaven. (Notice
the "IRON ROD" Ü ~ which is
actually a railing...)
|This Church is believed to be a palace|
built for King Lalibela. It is VERY
different from any of the other 11.
|We met this priest in one of the|
churches. He is standing in front
of the curtain leading to a replica
of the Ark of the Covenant.
|These holes are used by the guards to sleep in.|
|The Eye of the Needle|
|This is our room at the TOP TWELVE Hotel|
in Lalibela. Our balcony had a WONDERFUL
view of the whole valley below! Not bad for
$55 / night!! Ü
|The view from our balcony|