09.01.2008 - 09.01.2008
Impressive St George is carved into the rock.
The main attraction in Lalibela [Lalibela-travel-guide-948981] are the rock-hewn churches. Churches carved into the rock ... somewhat like Petra in Jordan except that there are some that are monolithic ie. rather than being carved into rock-faces, they are free-standing. The most impressive is St George (who else) ... visitors and worshippers descend through a ramp to access the church which was dug into the top of a large rock. The carpets in the church play host to fleas so precaution was required (see photos).
The king of the time created these churches so that Ethiopians wouldn't have to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem ... somewhat a replica of Jerusalem I guess. Such pilgrimages are arduous and result in many casualties .Another view of St George... simple solution huh? Ethiopians believe that they are descended from Jews and their (former) kings' lineage is from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
As it was just after Christmas, we encountered small groups of worshippers chanting, singing, dancing and lelelele-ing with drums and tambourines.
Like Yemen, it was hot in the sun and cool in the shade. Umbrella weather really. So Marie decided to buy a colourful umbrella and sought the help of our guide. After happily making the purchase, she was told by some locals on the walk home that it was a church umbrella, meaning it was one for use by the clergy when taking the tablets (of the ten commandments) out of the church. It was not for normal use. I wonder why the guide didn't explain?