Ranked #2 in Ethiopia Tourism
Lalibela is a city in Ethiopia and a major pilgrimage center. It is renowned for its monolithic rock cut churches.
Lalibela Main Attractions
Lalibela is world famous, because of the churches carved out of rocks. The town played an important role in the history of rock cut architecture. Most of the churches in Lalibela were built during 12th and 13th centuries.
The Churches in Lalibela are assembled in four groups. Bete Medhane Alem is a famous church belonging to the Northern Group. It houses the Lalibela house. It is believed that it is the largest monolithic church in the world. The Church is linked to the oldest Bete Maryam church and Bete Golgotha. Bete Golgotha contained the tomb of King Lalibela and is well known for its arts.
Bete Giyorgis belongs to Western Group. The church was carved from red volcanic rock. It has been referred to as the eighth wonder of the world. It is believed that the church was built by King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela after he got instructions from Saint George and God. The Church is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church considers it as a main pilgrimage site.
Bete Amanuel, Bete Abba Libanos, Bete Merkorios and Bete Gabriel Rafael are the churches in the Eastern Group. All the churches are open from 9AM to 10 AM and from 2 PM to 5 PM. You can get licensed guides at the Lalibela tourist office. These guides have excellent knowledge about the churches and have good relationship with the priests, so you can get a lot of useful information from them.
In addition, Lalibela has some other noteworthy places. You can visit the weekly market to get insight into local life and local weaving. Also visit the donkey park. Ethiopia Cookery School offers hiking programs. The trekking tours offer excellent views of high mountain areas and offer you an opportunity to participate in cultural events like weddings and eat local foods. You can undertake cultural trekking tours arranged by Medhane Alem Church. You can travel with well trained guides and stay overnight in huts in villages. You can get good foods in the local restaurants at reasonable prices.
How to get to Lalibela
Ethiopian Airlines have flights daily to Lalibela Airport. You can take a shared taxi to the town. The airport is 30 minutes drive from the town. Bus service is also available from Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia daily. To visit various places in the city, you can rent minibuses.