In this week’s rendition of Destination Wednesday we will be revisiting the same country as last week but at another, equally unique location.
The Church of St George (Biete Giyorgis) is one of the rock-hewn churches in Lalibela (Amhara Region, Ethiopia), altogether a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rock hewn refers to the engineering marvel of the church being cut (25m x 30m) out of the volcanic tuff rock which surrounds it. This church was built between the late 12th and early 13th century AD commissioned by King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela. What makes Biete Giyorgis particularly unique, is that the church building is cut in the shape of a cross and stands approximately 12m high within its excavation. Most importantly, not only is this medieval location a UNESCO World Heritage Site but it is a pilgrimage for many Ethiopian Christians. There are many priests robbed in white which attend the churches, they at times can be found chanting and singing , creating a tangible ambience of holiness and this adds greatly to the value of the site.
Overall, there are eleven rock-hewn churches in Lalibela all connected via a series of trenches. These churches can all be visited via tours in which prices range from £140 upwards. You can fly directly to Lalibela Airport (23km outside of the mountain town). Some tours will start from Lalibela Airport, so ensure you are aware that there is an admission fee of about £38 (1800 Ethiopian birr)[subject to change] and it would also be worthwhile finding if this is inclusive in your tour price.
Other areas to look out for:
Ben Abeba– An Ethiopian hilltop restaurant in Lalibela which houses magnificent views of Amhara Hills
Again, another selection of places has been added to our bucket list and at this stage I feel engulfed by how many places there are to see in this world. Looking forward to next week’s destination!
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