Erta Ale

Lalibela: Churches hewn into volcanic tuff

Extensive basaltic floods shaped, during the geologic history of Ethiopia, most of the northern highlands. Today we find so-called traps, spectacular layers of basaltic lava hundreds of meters thick. In Lalileba, also known as «Africa's Petra», is the most spectacular group of churches, all dating from the XII century AD and all hewn into the soft volcanic tuff. The magic atmosphere, almost as in time travel, is caused more by the colourful crowd of priests, hermits, pilgrims and prayers, rather than the churches themselves, damaged, rather than preserved, by the temporary (in this land without time!) shelters built-up to protect the fragile architecture. Note that «Bet» means «House».

Lalibela: Churches hewn into volcanic tuff
Bet Giyorgis
Lalibela: Churches hewn into volcanic tuff
Bet Golgotha
Lalibela: Churches hewn into volcanic tuff
Bet Medhane Alem
Lalibela: Churches hewn into volcanic tuff
Bet Giyorgis
Lalibela: Churches hewn into volcanic tuff
Praying deacon
Lalibela: Churches hewn into volcanic tuff
Hermit in his cave
Lalibela: Churches hewn into volcanic tuff
Hermit in his cave
Lalibela: Churches hewn into volcanic tuff
Praying hermit
Lalibela: Churches hewn into volcanic tuff
Lalibela's Cross
Lalibela: Churches hewn into volcanic tuff
Mass of the Virgin's Day
Lalibela: Churches hewn into volcanic tuff
Mass of the Virgin's Day
Lalibela: Churches hewn into volcanic tuff
Lalibela's Cross