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Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest places, dating back to the 12th century. Lalibela town, formerly known as Roha, named after one of Ethiopian ruler, King Lalibela (1181-1221), a member of the Zagwe dynasty. Lalibela is known by the amazing eleven churches hewn from solid rock. Built in the twelfth century, they are still standing in excellent condition. Most consider them as the eighth wonder of the world, and is one of the world heritage sites listed by UNESCO.

The famous Lalibela churches carved out from the rock on which they stand. Some lie almost completely hidden in deep trenches, while others stand in open quarried caves. A complex and amazing labyrinth of tunnels and narrow passage ways connects them all.

Seeing all of the Lalibela churches are well worth it - particularly during the colourful Ethiopian christian holidays: Genna, Ethiopian Christmas (on January 7th) and Timkat, Epiphany (on January 19th).

History of Laibela

Lalibela is located in northern Ethiopia, about 500 miles [800 kilometers] north of Addis Ababa and halfway up on Roha Mountain. Legend has it that one day Lalibela's mother saw him lying happily in his cradle surrounded by a dense swarm of bees. Believing the bees had the power to tell the future, she called her son 'Lalibela', which means in the Agaw language means, 'the bee recognizes his power to rule'.

Lalibela's older brother, Harbay, the incumbent monarch, was naturally disturbed to hear this news and unsuccessfully tried to have his brother murdered. Persecution continued for several years, culminating in a deadly poison that left the young prince into a three-day coma. During the three-day stupor, Lalibela was transported by angels to heaven, where God ordered him to return to Roha and build churches the like of which the world had never seen before. After Lalibela woke up from the comma and was crowned as a king, he gathered local handymen and started building the churches.

Another legend says that Lalibela has visited Jerusalem and vowed to build a New Jerusalem as his capital in response to the capture of old Jerusalem by Muslims in 1187.The rock churches, although connected to one another by maze-like tunnels, are physically separated by a small river which is called the Jordan. Churches on one side of the Jordan represent the earthly Jerusalem; whereas those on the other side represent the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of jewels and golden sidewalks alluded to in the Bible.

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Eshi Ethiopia Tours

Probably you might hear it too many times in a day while you travel to Ethiopia.Travelers with Eshi Ethiopia Tours will truly feel scenic Ethiopia.Our company EET delivers a higher level of professional service, arranging all activities of Nature,culture and every site of historical significance.