Lalibela is a small town in the middle of the Ethiopian highlands. It’s surrounded by a rocky and
dry area where just in the raining period farmers can grow their crops. One’s called Roha and
the capital of the Zagwe Dynasty which ruled over Ethiopia from the 10th century to the mid-
13th century. It was King Lalibela who builds the 13 rock -hewn churches.
800 year old Lalibela or Roha (the old name for Lalibela) is the second holiest city in Ethiopia,
after Axum, a place which you should not miss to visit.
It is very famous for its 11 rock hewn, monolithic churches, also sometimes called the 8.wonder
of the world, since nobody knows exactly why and especially how they were built.
The style of excavation is unique to Ethiopia; most of them are below ground level, not- as
‘normal’ churches above.
In 1978 Lalibela, which lies at an altitude of 2520m, was listed as a world heritage site.
Situated in the mountains of Lasta, on the western slopes of the Abune Yoseph massif, it has a
beautiful and impressive setting, with the best sun sets you can imagine.
Wild craggy mountains invite you to hike here and still used monasteries are to be found only
2,5 hours walk away from town, very rewarding with fascinating views all over the valley.
Lalibela is a medieval town and one of the greatest historical sites in the Christian world, for the
Ethiopian Christmas in January there are tens of thousands of pilgrim in town, sometimes
walking for 1 month to reach the churches.
Lalibela’s big market calls each Saturday thousands of locals from everywhere in the region,
they walk from as far as 20km away to sell their goods; it is a vivid place where you can buy
vegetables, fruits, animals, herbs, honey and traditional clothes.
Not so long ago, Lalibela was only to be reached on gravel roads, far away from anything else, it
took days to come here, nowadays it has changed because Lalibela now has an airport with
daily flights to Addis, Gondar, Mekele, Axum and Bahir Dar.


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