Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Lalibela: - the rock churches in and around lalibela
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Lalibela: - the rock churches in and around lalibela

282
views

Published on

The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are eleven in number and situated in three groups separated by the seasonal river Jordan. Churches of the first group are believed to have been built first and are …

The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are eleven in number and situated in three groups separated by the seasonal river Jordan. Churches of the first group are believed to have been built first and are usually visited first by many of the tourists. They are Bete Medhane-Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Mesekel, Bete Denagel, Bete Golgotha and Bete Debre Sina. Churches of the second group are situated south of the Jordan River and comprise Bete Gabriel, Bete Amanuel, Bete Merkorios, and Bete Abba Libanos. In the third group, there is only one isolated church i.e Bete Giorgis. It is located a few minutes walk to the south west of both the first and second group of churches.

Published in: Travel, Spiritual

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
282
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
2
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
1
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. www.fanosethiopiatours.com FANOS Ethiopia Tours – Your get way to Visit Ethiopia 1 | P a g e FANOS Ethiopia Tours Your get way to visit Ethiopia www.fanosethiopiatours.com Email: info@fanosethiopiatours.com Addis Ababa kebmathews@yahoo.com Ethiopia Mobile: + 251 913170579 The Rock churches in and around Lalibela There are an immense number of rock-hewn and cave churches particularly in the northern part of Ethiopia. The beginning of rock-cut churches in Ethiopia is dated to the 6th century by the Nine Saints. This rock-church tradition is associated with the birth and burial places of Jesus Christ, which were a cave in Bethelem and carved rock in Gologotha, respectively. In addition to this symbolic importance, churches were built from rocks perhaps for their physical durability and long-lasting use. According to the manner of their constructions, the Ethiopian Rock churches are classified in to three catogries, namely, built-up cave churches, rock-hewn cave churches and rock-hewn monolithic churches.  Built-up-cave churches are ordinary buildings built inside a natural cave, where the caves protect the church from damages, human made activity and natural disasters. Example; include the churches of Ne’akuto Le’ab,  Rock-hewn cave churches are also called semi-monolithic rock-hewn churches. They are partially separated from the main rock with various degrees of attachment to it. Many of the Laibela churches belong to this group.  Monolithic rock-hewn churches are completely freestanding churches attached to the main rock only at the base. They are separated from the surrounding rock and executed on all sides including the floor. The four churches in Lalibela (Bete Mariam, Bete Medhane-Alem, Bet Amanuel, and Bete Giorgis)
  • 2. www.fanosethiopiatours.com FANOS Ethiopia Tours – Your get way to Visit Ethiopia 2 | P a g e and one church in the nearby area (Genete Mariam) are perhaps the only monolithic rock- hewn churches in the world. Although the tradition of rock-hewn church excavation was started earlier in 6th century, it reached at its high level of development during the period of Zagwe Dyansty, particlulary during the reign of King Lalibela in the 12th century. In this regard, the famous rock-hewn churches of Laiblea are best examples. The prominent rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are eleven in number and situated in three groups separated by the seasonal river Jordan. Churches of the first group are believed to have been built first and are usually visited first by many of the tourists. They are Bete Medhane-Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Mesekel, Bete Denagel, Bete Golgotha and Bete Debre Sina. Chruches of the second group are situated south of the Jordan River and comprise Bete Gabriel, Bete Amanuel, Bete Merkorios, and Bete Abba Libanos. In the third group, there is only one isolated church i.e Bete Giorgis. It is located a few minutes walk to the south west of both the first and second group of churches. Bete-Medhane Alem (House of the Savior of the World)  Huge and impressive and perhaps, the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world.  Rectangular in shape and have large number of monolithic pillars (totally 72) both inside and outside: that represent the 72 disciples of Jesus Christ that belonged to His 120 family.  Known by its decorated roof with some architectural elements; it is also decorated by two rows of windows.  Its interior is a basilica plan with a nave, five aisles and eight bays.  Three empty graves (tombs) insides it symbolize Abraham, Issac, & Jacob, Biblical fathers.  The 14th century golden Gospel written in Ge’ez, Arabic and Hebrew scripts is found there.  Houses tremendous religious treasure, including the famous Lalibela cross which is locally known as Afro Aygeba. Bete-Mariam (House of St. Mary)  It said to be the first and the most favourite church of King Lalibela himself.  There are three projected porches out from the main structure in front of the
  • 3. www.fanosethiopiatours.com FANOS Ethiopia Tours – Your get way to Visit Ethiopia 3 | P a g e three entrances at the west, north and south sides of the church, which gives a cruciform shape of the floor plan.  There are various cross style windows in three rows including the swastika.  There is a pillar permanently covered with white decorated cloth at the main entrance of the holies of holies.  It is decorated by beautiful mural paintings (decorations) around the ceiling and the walls of the church including the Star of David and the double-headed eagle.  A deep rectangular pool is found in the floor of the surrounding courtyard, which is locally believed to make barren women fertile if they bathe there and get the blessing of the priest.  It is surrounded by a trapezoid shaped courtyard, which is used for the sacred priests dance and song during Christmas. The famous song of Christmas is known as Beza Kulu (Redeemer of the world). Bete-Meskel (House of the Cross)  Carved in to the northern wall of Bete Mariam and has only one façade, facing south and decorated by ten blind arcades. According to priests of Lalibela, the ten blind arcades represent the Ten Commandments and the ten churches of Lalibel (the twin churches are considered as one).  Internally it is decorated with many relief crosses and houses the most ornamented cruciform chamber, which is accessible to visitors. Bete-Denagel (House of the Virgins)  Carved in the south façade of Bete Mariam courtyared.  It is the least impressive, roughest and with out windows from Lalibela Chruches. Bete-Debre Sina and Bete-Golgotha  These are twin churches separated by a wall, east of which is Gologtha and to the west is Debre Sina.  The local people called them together “Bete Qidus Michael’ (House of St. Michael). Debre-Sina (House of Mount Sinai)  It has also a covered pillar like Bete Mariam  There are many carefully carved pillars in the interior, which are cruciform in croos- section, with double capitals and decorated by varieties of crosses.
  • 4. www.fanosethiopiatours.com FANOS Ethiopia Tours – Your get way to Visit Ethiopia 4 | P a g e Bete-Golgotha (House of Golgotha)  Distinguished by the bas-relief figures of Saints, perhaps the 12 apostles, carved in to the niches of the walls.  Houses a sympolic tomb of Jesus Christ, which is carved and diplays a bas-relief of the Dead Savior watched by an angel.  Contains the tomb of king Lalibela, which is covered by a movable slab of stone.  House the Trinity Chapel, which contains three monolithic altars where the central one is decorated with a beautiful relief of four winged creatures; a man, a lion, a cow and an eagle that represent the four evangelists: Mathew, Mark, Luke and Johan respectively.  Maintains many precious treasures like the prayer stick (staff) and the hand cross of King lalibela himself. Bete-Amanuel (House of Emanuel)  It is the most beautifully carved church with a typical ancient Axumite architectural style i.e. projecting and recessing walls.  There are two rows of windows in the façade, of which the lower ones are cross-shaped and the upper ones square heads.  It is a three-story building in which the ground class is cross- shaped.  It has richly ornamented external walls by horizontal carvings. Bete-Abba Libanos (House of Father Libanos)  The roof is not separated from the rock but a tunnel detached the other four sides. The church carries a huge block of rock.  It locally symbolize the priest that carries the tabot (the Ark of the Covenant).  Some believes that Empress Meskel Kibra (the wife of King Lalibela) built this church though the local church scholars do not accept it.  It is the smallest from the second group of churches.
  • 5. www.fanosethiopiatours.com FANOS Ethiopia Tours – Your get way to Visit Ethiopia 5 | P a g e Bete-Gabriel (House of St. Gebriel)  It has an impressive monumental façade facing to the north and ornamented with original niches whose top shape is similar to the top part of the Axumit Stele.  Near to the church, there is a carved band of rock locally called ‘the path of heaven’. It is a wall shaped and rises from the ground and ascending to the roof.  There is a well and underground cistern down in the courtyared.  It is a church whose original entrance is still hidden. Access to the church is through long bridge crossing the main trench.  There are three straight Latin crosses incised in to the interior wall.  There is also a huge manuscript called ‘Gedle Sema’etat” (Hagiograph of Martyrs).  It has not east-west orientation, thus some speculates it was originally built for secular purposes rather than the church. Bet-Merkorios (House of St. Merkorios)  It is irregular in shape and damaged, but latter repaired. Unfortunately, the original feature and beauty is destroyed due to the inappropriate restoration.  It was the second largest church, net to Bet-Medhane Alem though before its destruction.  Like Bete-Gebriel, it has not east-west orientation, thus the same speculation has forwarded regarding its original purpose. Bet-Giorgis (House of St. Gorge)  It is a cruciform (cross-shaped) church from top to bottom and symbolizes the Ark of Noah.  It is decorated by two rows of windows. The upper row windows have original arches and the bracket capitals are very famous.  It has proper orientation, harmonized proportion and decorations.  There are burial niches, small round caves and chambers in the wall of the courtyard.  There is a cistern or baptismal font in the floor of the courtyard.
  • 6. www.fanosethiopiatours.com FANOS Ethiopia Tours – Your get way to Visit Ethiopia 6 | P a g e In addition to the abovementioned churches, there are also other rock-hewn structures in Lalibela. The Tomb of Adam (Qeranio) and Bethelem are good examples in this regard. The former one is a cross like huge block of stones that stands in carved deep trench in front of the western face of Bete Golgotha. The latter one is a cone shaped shrine located at the center of the second group of churches. The mode of construction observed at the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela is remarkable. Initially, a large area was marked out. Net big trench were excavated on all sides, isolating in the centre a huge block of rock. The work was perhaps started at the top and continues to the bottom (the base of the church). Then, this rock was shaped and formed internally as well as externally. Finally, the church was decorated with columns, walls, paintings, bas-relief figures, variety of window shapes and other architectural styles, which make the general appearance of the interior as a source of inspiration for artists and a source of admiration to visitors. Excavation of all of the churches is supposed to have been completed over a period between 23 and 30 years. The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela have many features in common with the indigenous Axumite architecture. The projection and recession of walls is typically observed in Bete Amanuel. The monkey heads (Square projections) are seen at the corner of windows and doors of many of the churches. The horizontals band (layers) imitating of wood pits is reflected in some of the churches particularly in Bete Amanuel. There are also the small towers at each corner of the churches. The use of the shape of the stele is also seen in Bete-Gabriel. The churches of Lalibela have many unique features that distinguish them from any other monuments in the world. They are still centers of active worship, 800 years after they were excavated. More than many other monuments, they constitute a living link with the past. Each one of the church is different in style and has its own unique feature. All of them are executed from the living solid volcanic rock and very much refined. Four of them are strictly monolithic in structure. They are many in number, excavated in one area within a very short distance from each other and are interconnected to each other by tunnels and trenches.
  • 7. www.fanosethiopiatours.com FANOS Ethiopia Tours – Your get way to Visit Ethiopia 7 | P a g e Francisco Alvarez, a member of the 16th century Portuguese mission to Ethiopia, documented his appreciation and described each of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibel. After describing all of the churches in succession, he concluded by saying; It worried me to write more than these words, because it seemed that they would not believe me if I write more and because as to what I have already written they will accuse me of untruth. Therefore, I swear by God in whose power I am, that all that written is the truth, and there is much more than I have already written and I have left it that they may not tax me with is being falsehood. In addition to those of lalibela, there are many rock-churches in the surrounding area; the prominent ones are listed in the table below.  The execution of many of the churches mentioned in the table above dated to the 6th century and attributed to Kind Kaleb and his son and successor Gebre Meskel. For example; Bilebila Giorgis, Bilbila Kirkos, Sarzina Mikael, Arbatou Ensesa and Tirkuza Kidane Mihret are believed to have been built during the reign of King Kaleb. Others such as Emekina Medhane Alem and Emekina Lideta Mariam were built in the reign of King Gebre Meskel.  From the built up cave churches, Yimrehane Kristos, located at about 42km North West of Lalibela, is very impressive and attend high level of development. The church was built within a cave in wood and stone following the Axumite traditions are exceptional. The church is also a treasure house of many precious religious objects and remains of many pilgrims. There is also a palace within the cave in front of the church. Built-up cave churches Rock-hewn cave (semi- monolithic) churches Monolithic rock-hewn church  Ne’akuto Le’ab  Emekina Medhane Alem  Emekina Lideta –Mariam  Abune Yoseph  Yimrehane Kirstos  Abune Habib  Wale Eyesus  Fenget Giorgis  Amba Mariam  Debre Zemedo-Mariam (around Kobo)  Asheten Mariam  Bilbila Giorgis  Bilbila Kirkos  Sarzina Mikael  Arabtu Ensesa  Kenkenit Mikael  Tirkuza Kidane-Mihret  Wuker Meskele-Kirstos (Sekota)  Mawre Estifanos  Abune Aron  Genet Mariam  Bet-Giorgis 
  • 8. www.fanosethiopiatours.com FANOS Ethiopia Tours – Your get way to Visit Ethiopia 8 | P a g e  Abune Yoseph is one of the highest peak in Ethiopia and very popular in the beauty of its scenery. Besides, the existence of large number of the Red Fox, one of the prominent endemic mammals of Ethiopia, makes it very famous and attractive.  Genet Mariam is the only monolithic rock-hewn church outside Lalibela. It is located at about 32km. southeast of Lalibela, not far from the sources of Tekeze River.  Rock Churches are also found in many areas of the country outside Lalibela and its surroundings. For example, there are more than 120 rock-hewn churches in Tigray. We have also many others in other area such as Addis Mariam around Addis Ababa and Zoz Amba Giorgis in Gondar. Contact Info: Kebrabe Matewos, Managing Director FANOS Ethiopia Tours, Travel and Car Rent Mobile: +251 (0) 913170579 P.o.box: 26696 Code 1000 E-mail:info@fanosethiopiatours.com or kebmathews@yahoo.com Skype: kebmathews Website: www.fanosethiopiatours.com Trekksoft: http://fanosethiopiatours.trekksoft.com/en/ Wordpress: www.fanosethiopiatours.wordpress.com LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/fanosethiopiatours Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fanosethiopiatours Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/fanostour Twitter: http://twitter.com/fanostour Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/fanostour Google +1: http://www.plus.google.com/+fanosethiopia Flicker: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fanosethiopiatourscom

×