Bet Mikael

travel theme: bright

Sunday, November 4: Ailsa’s Travel Theme for this week is Bright. She writes: So what bright delights have caught your eye?  Show me your brilliant brights. (Where’s my backpack? Travel Theme: Bright)

Here is a chanting church service at Bet Mikael, one of the churches in Lalibela, Ethiopia, with bright light shining over the believers.

Priests and boys chanting in Bet Mikael at Lalibela, Ethiopia. It’s almost as if the bright light is God beaming down on them….

There are beautiful bright paintings found in all the Lalibela rock-hewn churches.  These churches, built in the 11th century, are still used today.

a bright painting of the Virgin and child at the Lalibela churches

At the Saturday market in Lalibela, bright textiles are offered for sale.

the Saturday market at Lalibela, Ethiopia

And finally, at Lake Langano in southern Ethiopia, the evening twilight casts a bright light over the landscape of acacia trees.

the landscape of Lake Langano at twilight

Categories: Africa, Bet Mikael, Bishangari Lodge, Bright, Ethiopia, Lake Langano, Lalibela, Lalibela rock-hewn churches, Travel Theme | Tags: , , | 9 Comments

bet mikael, bet golgotha, bet uraiel & the tomb of adam {northern lalibela churches}

Friday, October 26:  We walk through another passageway cut into solid rock to Bet Mikael, also known as Bet Debre Sina, which serves as an anteroom to the Selassie Chapel, one of Lalibela’s holiest sanctuaries.  Sadly, the Selassie Chapel is rarely opened to the public, so we don’t get to see that.

However, in Bet Mikael, we come upon a group of men dressed in white, chanting, beating on drums, and burning incense.  They are in the midst of a church service which is beyond my understanding or experience.  The men seem suspended in some mystical, ethereal world, dressed as they are and enveloped in a haze of incense smoke and streaming sunlight.  We stand, enraptured by them for quite some time, amazed that we happened upon this holy ceremony.

a chanting service in Bet Mikael

a boy and a blind man in the service

a holy and mystical ceremony

a painting in Bet Mikael

Attached to Bet Mikael is Bet Golgotha, which is not open to women!  I always HATE this kind of rule, and don’t see why men are considered the only people holy enough to enter such places!!  So my friend Ed goes in along with Masala, who takes my camera and snaps a few pictures.  It doesn’t look like I miss that much anyway.  Apparently Bet Golgotha contains some of the best early examples of Ethiopian Christian art.

life-size depictions of seven saints are carved into the niches of Bet Golgotha’s walls

this is the priest in Bet Golgotha

We wander back outside into the sunlight, where we walk through another narrow passage cut in the rock.  We come upon Bet Uraiel, where a priest with a large cross poses with me outside of a cave opening.

outside of Bet Uraiel

the fully robed priest bearing his cross outside of Bet Uraiel

And finally, inside of a deep trench outside of Bet Golgotha and Bet Uraiel is the so-called Tomb of Adam,which is simply a giant, hollowed-out block of stone.

the “Tomb of Adam”

Me, Ed and a Lalibelan woman pose in front of the Tomb of Adam

Categories: Africa, Bet Golgotha, Bet Mikael, Bet Uraiel, Ethiopia, Lalibela, Lalibela rock-hewn churches, Tomb of Adam | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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