Project Description

Lalibela is located in the North Wollo administration zone, north of Addis Ababa. The physical landscapes of the town is characterized by a rugged topography on a mountain in picturesque setting an altitude of 2500metres above sea level and the town is also easily identified by various spectacular landscape structures ranging from gentle to steep slopes.

Lalibela was the capital of Zagwe dynasty which ruled over Ethiopia in the 12th and 13th centuries and its modern name derived from that of the most famous of Zagwe rulers, the 12th century. King Lalibela famed for its remarkable rock-hewn churches curved out from a single rock. The churches of Lalibela are eleven in numbers and these churches were inscribed as world heritage site by UNESCO since 1978. King Lalibela is mentioned as the leading figures among the Zagwe dynasty who have left their imprints for generations. it’s said that under the unreserved help from saints and angels during the night, Lalibela had spent 23 years to carve all the churches by aiming to create the second Jerusalem in Ethiopia to make the Christians leave the difficult and tedious pilgrimage to the holy Land-Jerusalem and Rock-hewn ecclesiastical buildings were highly developed and widely spread in Ethiopia during the medieval period.

It was the tradition that apparently laid down the knowledge basis for the construction of churches within a cave or from excavated rocks. Therefore, the nine saints who acquired such traditions were believed to have introduced the tradition of rock churches in Ethiopia. The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are eleven in numbers and they are divided into three groups separated by seasonal river Jordan. The first group comprises six churches located north of the Jordan river while the second group comprises four churches situated south of the river and St. George is located in isolation on a sloping rock terrace south-west of both the first and the second group of churches.