martes, 29 de enero de 2008

Ethiopia, Lalibela Churches

Bieta Giyorgis (Saint Gerorge) Church.

Lalibela Churches : As a kind of Jordanian's Petra, they say it's the 8th world wonder. Lalibela is a small town in the middle of the Ethiopian highlands. It's surrounded by a rocky and dry area where just in the raining period farmers can grow their crops.

One's called Roha and the capital of the Zagwe Dynasty wich ruled over Ethiopia from the 10th century to the mid- 13th century. It was King Lalibela who build the 11 rock-hewn monolithic churches. These 11 churches are all cut out of solid red volcanic rock, it was constructed to represent Jerusalem.

The churches are divided into Northern and Eastern groups of churches by a rock-cut channel (river) called Yordannos (Jordan River) and all connected by a labyrinth thine of narrow and deep passages, tunnels, small canyons, and bridges…

Bieta Medhane Alem is the largest and most impressive monolithic church. Of all the churches, Bieta Giyorgis (Saint George) is particularly stunning and beautiful, situated apart from the other churches to the west, intricately carved into the shape of a cross. All the churches are still used as places of worship.

The churches are also a significant engineering feat, given that they are all associated with water (which fills the wells next to many of the churches) exploiting an artesian geological system that brings the water up to the top of the mountain. (Thx Makzid)

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