A smooth mid morning flight took us to Lalibela via Gondar. We arrived around noon and our driver and guide who were supposed to meet us didn’t. Good start.
We eventually secured a ride to our accommodation and were met by Hilo(sp), our guide for the rest of the afternoon and all the next day. He was apologetic, there was a mis-communication and he was really sorry. We easily forgave him and he turned out to be a blessing. He was an expert in all things Lalibela and area and is an icon in his community due to his past foray into local politics and his earlier involvement in social work with the local women and children. His history in the village is iconic in that his grandfather was the head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians in Lalibela, one of the two holiest cities in Ethiopia. He was the man.
Lalibela is famous for it’s UNESCO designated World Heritage rock-cut monolithic churches and the whole area in and around Lalibela represents a legacy of the medieval and post-medieval civilizations in Ethiopia dating from the 7th to 13th centuries.
The churches are quite incredible. Chiseled, I suppose by thousands of workers, they cut mostly granite rock to carve out these incredible buildings.
It is mind boggling to try to understand how this was done. Like many amazing temples in India and elsewhere, it was not done overnight but in many cases, 15, 25, even 50 or 100 years to complete. Amazing.
We visited four of the five northwestern clutches of churches in the afternoon, Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Marymam and Bet Mikael & Bet Golgotha.
Little bits of rock flew off with each hit of the hammer. Some stuck to his sweaty brow but he was determined.
The next day, his ears ringing big time from all of the steel-to-rock hammering he heard a greeting and then a question from one of his friends.
“How’s it going Ismailiya, how are you? Great, how are you he replied. “Good, what are you doing?” Chiselling a church out of solid granite to show my love and dedication to um, well, the church and stuff. “Making progress?” Yes, very much. “How much longer till you figure you’ll be done?”
Oh, about a thousand years…”
2 thoughts on “Northern Ethiopia, Addis Ababa to Lalibela”
Thank you so much Grant for sharing your travels. I really enjoy reading your summary and the pictures. As always, travel safe and hope to see you again in the near future. Please do let me know when you are back so we can catch up on the good old days.
Hi My BFFs! 🙋🏻💕Just amazing…a wonderful read…and of course, the photos…beautiful!👌😍
So…open tombs/crypts, hence showing skeletal remains and quite the decomposed foot!🦶Oh my!🤭 Looks recent😬, not a thousand years old!🤷🏻♀️😚I’m just segueing into that last tale..is that Ismailiya(?)…loved it!😂😘
Thank you 🙏👏 so much for capturing and sharing here all your breathtaking experiences, landscapes, the various countries, cultures, and their peoples!🥰
Exceptionally happy you both got home 🏡 safe and sound! ♥️🤗💋xoxo