Rock Churches of Lalibela
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Exploring Ancient Rock ChurchesTransport yourself to back to the 13th century. Imagine taking a hand tool and chiseling down in to a mountain to create the four exterior sides of a building and then using those same hand tools to hewn out the interior space for the building. After that, you then hand chisel out rock to create details such as molding, windows and doors, pillars, arched ceilings and even domes. If you’re up to it, paint a few frescoes and carve out a few wooden doors. Repeat this process ten more times and then hand chisel out an extensive system of drainage ditches, trenches and ceremonial passages, some with openings to hermit caves and catacombs. No two church exteriors or interiors should be the same and each church should honor a different religious figure. Add it all up and you now have completed work on the complex of spectacular monolithic, hand hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia which were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978.
Without a doubt, the rock church complex at Lalibela is one of the most spectacular manmade constructions in the world and to say that I gasped in utter awe with every step that I took is truly an understatement. The complex is much too large to see in one day so plan on a two day visit. Also, note that you have to take off your shoes before entering every church so be prepared accordingly.