Lalibela - Rock-Hewn Churches

Lalibela - Rock-Hewn Churches

Lalibela - Rock-Hewn Churches
3.5
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3.5
3.5 of 5 bubbles7 reviews
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Haytham Abu Firas
Qatar19,237 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019 • Friends
Lalibela is an old city. People visit Lalibela for churches mainly and then for hiking. You need a good background to understand things. Very necessary to have a guide otherwise it will be a walking tour between the rocks
Written 24 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Pierre L
3 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
If you want a guide for the Lalibela churches look for Sami at the Lalibela Hotel. He will take you there with care and share is knowledge of the history of the churches.
Also if you like to hike he can guide you to the top of the mountain to visit a monastery just above the town the view is fantastic. The St-Georges church is really beautiful at sunset.
Written 10 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jakub K
9 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Couples
Ethiopean goverment/people are just trying hiw far can they push tourist with their prices.. Entry fee used to be 20 Usd, than 50 Usd and from June 2023 its 100USD pp without a guide... Ethiopean people are going for free of course and saying things like we are obligate to support them... We made our point and didnt pay for entrance even when we were already in the city... It was too much already. Its important to have some principals and dont be a sheep/stupid tourist for them.
Written 22 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Roddek
Melbourne, Australia608 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Solo
Lalibela, Ethiopia.
While I was north in the Tigray region, word came through that fighting had broken out in Lalibela. I was holding a confirmed ticket to Lalibela, and I went ahead and boarded the flight via Addis.
For my good fortune, a peace treaty was signed the day I arrived, and it seemed peaceful on the ground. Melies, a tour guide, met me, and we started our tour after lunch.
Some consider Lalibela a World Heritage Site, the world's eighth wonder because of the ancient stone churches carved entirely from a single piece of volcanic rock. The 11 churches were built over 23 years during the 12th century at the command of King Lalibela.
The 11 churches at Lalibela, Ethiopia, are regarded as one of the world's wonders, excavated from solid rock with an immense underground maze of tunnels and passages. There are two main groups of churches, with another church dedicated to Saint George a short distance away.
According to the tour commentary, Lalibela, revered as a saint, is said to have visited Jerusalem and attempted to recreate a new Jerusalem as his capital in response to the Muslims' taking of old Jerusalem in 1187. On his return, he commenced the massive construction. As we know, each church was carved from a single rock to symbolize spirituality and humility. The churches, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978, were hewn out of solid rock (entirely below ground level) in various styles. Generally, trenches were excavated in a rectangle, isolating a solid granite block.
"Lalibela was both a priest and a king," my guide explained. "King Lalibela wanted to construct these churches because Ethiopian Orthodox Christians wanted to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to see the birthplace of Jesus Christ." But many were unable to make it or perished during the journey. When King Lalibela saw that, he envisioned a New Jerusalem to which the faithful could pilgrimage.
We spent the afternoon exploring the six churches in the first group. We began with Bete Medhane Alem (Savior of the World), who is considered to be the largest monolith church on earth. The reddish-brown structure is carved deep into the volcanic rock, with the roof following an imaginary line where the natural landscape would have crested. Everything is built from the same rock, including doors, windows and pillars. Heavy carpets are thrown on hard ground for the services within the calm, dusky interior.
From there, we passed through various trenches and tunnels, going from one holy building to the next. Some were larger than others,.each had a priest who would go from time to time behind a giant curtain hung within each church.
They were all impressive, but none as markedly so as the final church, Bete Giyorgis (Church of St. George), which is set slightly apart from the others. This very separation makes this church so dramatic: The church, which suddenly plunges below ground 50 or 60 metres level, has a tawny exterior mottled with green and yellow moss and, from above, forms the shape of a cross. It can be entered like the others and requires a downhill trek into what feels like the jaws of the earth to reach the front entrance.
Written 9 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

A-GlobalTraveler
Boston, MA10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
I really enjoyed the churches of Lalibela and while I usually self-guilde, I used Yohannes Misgan myohannes11@yahoo.com or +251 (93) 346 7103 (also on WhatsApp) as a guide there based on the strong recommendation by some other tourists I met in Addis Ababa. I was glad I did and over 2 days found him to be extremely helpful, well-informed, and friendly. It was a much richer experience than just reading a guide book and I would definitely recommend him for anyone visiting Lalibela. He has an easy-going style and is great at casual conversation in addition to the official guide duties. He was also extremely considerate and very happy to take photos of me at various locations, and even suggested many of the spots and angles to get some terrific pictures.
Written 23 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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LALIBELA - ROCK-HEWN CHURCHES (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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