Culture end the ark of the covenant


Lalibela is the true wonder of this little known country.

During the twelfth century King Lalibela fled the Muslim persecution on the shores of the Red Sea and settled in Lalibela and treid to build a new Jerusalem. Twenty five years would be needed to dig the 11 churches that bear his name. He was the king of the dynasty Zaghwe.

It was an incredble achievement considering that each church was carved down into the rock. According to the current day priests, the task was too complicated for men and so the king was attended by angels.  A labyrinth of passages joins the 11 churches and the smell of incense and perfume fills the nostrils. Priests dressed in white mix easily with pilgrims and are proud to show paintings measuring six meters high from floor to ceiling depicting Biblical scenes. Only the center of the church is forbidden and inaccessible to curious visitors and woe to those who penetrate the oak door. The tabot, or the sacred chest in the center of each church is ardently protected by the priests.


The Axum dynasty (top left photo) dates from the 6th century and actually has muslim roots. The tallest standing stelae is 24 metres but there is a fallen 33 metre stelae which probably fell during the erection. For archeologists, Axum is an amazing location with much still buried and yet to be discovered.

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