arrival in the land of lalibela

Friday, October 26:  For the second day in a row, I am up early to catch a 7:40 a.m. flight.  This time, we are leaving Addis Ababa for Lalibela in the north of Ethiopia.  Locals say the drive to Lalibela takes several days because the roads are not good.   Lucky for us, our flight is only an hour.

We arrive by Ethiopian Airways to Lalibela.

After we get off the plane, we drive through the countryside to reach Lalibela.  We pass fields of tef, the grain used to make the spongy staple Ethiopian bread called injera.

fields of tef, used to make the spongy local staple injera

other crops in the agricultural land around Lalibela

the view on our drive with tef in the foreground

We see the Mesket Escarpment, where multi-day trekking tours can be arranged.

the Mesket Escarpment

We see children herding a menagerie of sheep, goats, donkeys and cows.

a menagerie of herd animals

the child herders

We see agricultural fields and tukuls, Ethiopian traditional cylindrical huts with cone-shaped roofs.

tukuls, traditional Ethiopian houses

We see men, boys, and children carrying crops on their heads.  One man rides horseback but most people just walk.

looks like a heavy load

one of the few Ethiopians we see in the countryside who has transportation

the view as we drive up the mountain to the town of Lalibela

We arrive in the town of Lalibela and settle in briefly to the Mountain View Hotel Lalibela. (Mountain View Hotel Lalibela)

the Mountain View Hotel

up closer to the entrance at Lalibela Mountain View Hotel

a little display of clay pots in the lobby of the hotel

in the lobby of the hotel

the dining room of the hotel

the view off the deck of the room

Then we head out to explore the rock-hewn churches of the town.

The rural town of Lalibela is famous for its churches carved out of rock.  These churches are important in the history of rock-cut architecture.  Though the exact dates they were carved are not certain, most are thought to have been built during the reign of King Lalibela, a member of the Zagwe Dynasty, during the 12th and 13th centuries.  The churches are grouped together as such:

The Northern Group: Bet Medhane Alem, home to the Lalibela Cross and said to be the largest monolithic church in the world, is possibly a copy of St. Mary of Zion church in Aksum. It is linked to Bet Maryam (possibly the oldest of the churches), Bet Golgotha (known for its arts and said to contain the tomb of King Lalibela), Bet Mikael, the Selassie Chapel and the Tomb of AdamBet Meskel and Bet Danaghel, a semi-chapel and chapel.

The Western Group: Bet Giyorgis, said to be the most finely executed and best preserved church.

The Southeastern Group: Bet Amanuel (possibly the former royal chapel), Bet Merkorios (which may be a former prison), Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gabriel-Rufael (possibly a former royal palace), linked to a holy bakery.

Categories: Africa, Ethiopia, Lalibela, Mountain View Hotel Lalibela | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “arrival in the land of lalibela

  1. The blue of the skies with the golds of the earth are striking! The hotel certainly stands out – are the rooms also glass walled?

    • Yes, Carol, the colors in Ethiopia were fabulous! I was so surprised by the beautiful landscape. No, the rooms didn’t have glass walls, except giant patio doors to the balcony. It is quite a striking hotel, but a little shabby…. 🙂

  2. Such typical rural African scenes, Cathy. What a beautiful view from your hotel. 🙂

    • Thanks, Sylvia! I’m glad you like them. I love this Ethiopian landscape and was really surprised by it. I’m not sure what I was expecting! Does much of Africa look like this?

      • Yes, once you get out of the towns and cities. I often think that the people who live like this are much happier and more content, than those who flock to the big cities, leaving their rural life and culture behind.

      • I think you’re right. The people in Lalibela, as poor as they were, seemed very happy. And their faith seemed so strong. I found that amazing!

  3. Pingback: Lalibela, Ethiopia « a nomad in the land of nizwa

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