Ethiopia: Explore The 900-Year Old Churches of “New Jerusalem”

The story of these amazing churches is one of outstanding craftsmanship, a story of finding a way around adversity but most of all the story of a spectacular vision. King Lalibela was the mastermind behind these extraordinary creations.

In the late 12th century Muslims conquered Jerusalem. This made it too dangerous for the Ethiopians to travel there so they decided to bring Jerusalem to them in one truly unique way.


Into solid rock, high enough to hide from dangerous prying eyes, King Lalibela and his fellow dedicated Christians carved multiple churches.


Just imaging these hard working people carving Churches out of solid rock seems amazing. As this was 900 years ago there were no machines, no hydraulics, just sweat and blood and the devotion of the human spirit.


There are in total 11 churches which have been continually used over all of these years. Every Sunday payers and songs can be heard echoing from these ancient wonders.


You are obviously wondering, as the rest of the historians, how the King built these churches. Well the legend goes as follow: King Lalibela, who was poisoned by his brother and fell into a three-day coma, was taken to Heaven and given a vision of a rock hewn city. After Lalibela woke up from the comma and was crowned as a king, he gathered local handymen and started building the churches, the like of which the world had never seen before.


I would call it believable as the churches truly seem sent from above. They are located about 500 miles (800 kilometers) north of Addis Abeba and halfway up on Roha Mountain. They are definitely worth traveling to as you will never see anything thing quite like this ever again.

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