Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela

Rotskerken van LalibelaIn most guidebooks it is listed as a highlight of Ethiopia: a visit to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. In the small village high in the Ethiopian hills, eleven beautiful churches were carved out of the rocks in the 13th century. The village is a place of pilgrimage for the Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia, for tourists a ’must see’.

It is a 360km drive from Mekele to Lalibela, a trip that we make in one long day. Once we leave the city we ride through the beautiful hills of Ethiopia. After 300km we leave the main road to go to Lalibela on a back road. The last 60km we drive on a gravel road ever higher into the Rotskerken van Lalibelahills. The road is in some parts very bad, too bad for cars and trucks. For that reason we do not come across any other traffic. In the villages we pass, we are a true attraction.
Like before, it is beautiful! Very impressive vieuws, especially in the sunlight at the end of the afternoon. After a long day, we arrive in Lalibela where we find a room in “The Seven Olives Hotel”, where we enjoy the best injera Bozena Shiro of Ethiopia.

The next morning we get up early to visit the churches. At least that is what we thought. As we walk to the motorbikes, we smell fuel from a great distance. The motorcycles are parked in front of the reception and underneath my bike is a puddle of gasoline. Peter gets out his tools. It soon becomes apparent that the rubber gasket between the fuel tank and the fuel pump is stretched and does not fit anymore, causing fuel to leak from the tank. We decide to postpone our visit to the churches one day and fix the leakage first.

Peter takes my bike further and further apart, while I, as his assistant, hand him his tools. Both the tank and the fuel pump must be cleaned Rotskerken van Lalibelabefore the ‘liquid gasket’ can be put on again. With toothpicks, napkins and scrapers we clean both parts. Around us are now a number of spectators. All giving good advice from the sidelines. One of them gives us some empty water bottles so we can get the gasoline out. Another give us cable ties, always handy. At the beginning of the afternoon the pump is neatly fitted on the tank with liquid gasket. Now it should only dry before Peter can mount the tank and we throw back the fuel in the tank. If we were to do that now the gasket might dissolve again.

That afternoon we will send an email to the Dutch automobile association ANWB asking if they can send a new gasket to Ethiopia. Not even half an hour later we receive a phone call of the ANWB. A friendly gentleman has already figured out exactly what part he needs to order from Honda. If we give him the address in Addis Ababa, he will order the part and have it delivered in Ethiopia within a few days. What a service!

Rotskerken van LalibelaThe next day we get up early and visit the rock-chewn churches of Lalibela accompanied by a guide. King Lalibela had wanted to build “little Jerusalem” with replicas of the tomb of Christ, the tomb of Adam and the River Jordan. This way, his citizens could go on a pilgrimage to Lalibela if they could not travel to Jerusalem. The eleven rock churches are divided into two groups. In the morning we visit the churches in the north, above the river Jordan . After lunch we cross the river and visit the remaining churches, including the most famous Bet Giyorgis that was built in the shape of a cross in honour of St. George.

It is a special place and the churches are impressive. No wonder they are on the World Heritage list and considered the eight world wonder. Something so beautiful deserves its own short story with lots of pictures.

Click here to see the photos in this post

Distance travelled to Lalibela: 11.118km (6908 miles)

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| Leonie | AFRICA, Ethiopia

4 Reacties (Comments) - Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela

  1. Yvette

    Wat een mooie update weer! Prachtige foto’s van Ethiopië, maar ook heel fijn om foto’s van jullie te zien 😉 Knuffel!

  2. Jan en Mariët

    Hoi vrolijk Pasen!
    Liefs van ons

  3. Herman Schutte

    Hele mooie foto’s en prettige paasdagen.

  4. Frederike

    Wow….heel indrukwekkend!