Hewn Churches (Wow!)
Trip Start May 08, 2011
145Trip End Sep 26, 2011
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The tour to the hewn churches started early at 7.00am. We picked up our guide (Joseph) and entered the UNESCO site! Wow! Wow! Wow! I spent four hours reminding myself that this complex of churches was literally chiseled out of the rock by King Lalibela (amongst others).
During the morning tour, we visited six churches in the eastern cluster. Our first church was the Bet Medhand Alem with its 11.5 metre depth or height depending on they way you look at it. The dark interior was magnificent. We took a route through the Bet Marym (the first hewn church supposedly), sorry Bet Miskal before and then Bet Danaghel. We visited Lalibela's grave, Bet Golgota, Bet Mikael and Adam's Tomb before exiting through the main entrance
So much work done here (40000 workers over 23 years).
From here, St .George's church was our next stop. Simply unbelievable. The starkest example of a hewn church. I went crazy with the camera! I find myself staring at these marvels of human effort and I tire as I do so. It was lunch time. I had injera with stew.
Back to the western cluster at 2.00pm with our excellent guide. We firstly visited the Bet Gabriel-Rufael which was Lalibela's palace. These constructions (if you pardon the expression) look older, less perfect, less manicured than the ones we saw in the morning.
We then passed through "hell" natural trench which was scary as hell if you pardon the pun! Bet Emanuel was next and was just so impressive (if in a bad state) and finally Bet Mercurious (built by Lalibela's wife). On our way out, we passed through a village. For the first time, I felt sad in Ethiopia.