Lalibela is probably the most famous of areas to visit in Ethiopia and was our last stop in our epic adventure. One of the main reasons we left it to the end of our trip was to experience Genna - aka Ethiopian Christmas. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which the majority of Ethiopians belong to, celebrates Christmas on January 7 and Lalibela is the place to be for the celebrations.
Lalibela is famed for its rock-hewn churches, which were the vision of King Lalibela in the 12th century, where he wanted to build a new Jerusalem. Ethiopia has a very long religious history, being the second oldest Christian nation in the world. The complex of churches in Lalibela numbers at eleven, which are still in use today as sacred houses of worship. Each church was carved out of incredibly hard granite stone and are truly amazing structures which are right up there with other ancient sites we have visited such as Petra in Jordan and the Pyramids of Egypt. They are an impressive sight and had my mind completely boggled as I tried to imagine how they were created.
At Christmas time, thousands upon thousands of pilgrims from all around Ethiopia make their way to Lalibela for the holiday, and many by foot. It was a very special experience as the the whole town was abuzz with such atmosphere, and a great way to wrap up our trip.
next: more form Lalibela and the Christmas celebrations.
|inside one of the churches|
|the church of st. george|
|deacons and priests chanting on christmas eve|