A Church That Looks Like a Giant Underground Labyrinth

Built in the 11th century, these rock stone monasteries are still in use today.

Image
Reuters

Ethiopia's ancient churches are alive and well, a thousand years later. According to Reuters:

 Legend has it that the churches were carved below ground at the end of 11th century and beginning of the 12th after God ordered King Lalibela to build churches the world had never seen - and dispatched a team of angels to help him.

General view of a damaged facade of a rock-hewn church in Lalibela. (Radu Sigheti/Reuters)
A monk walks out from the morning prayer at Saint George, one of the 11 rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, an ancient site that draws tens of thousands of foreign tourists every year. (Radu Sigheti/Reuters)



People stand around Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela. (Radu Sigheti/Reuters)



Women stand during the morning mass at Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela. (Radu Sigheti/Reuters)

About the Author

  • Amanda Erickson is a former senior associate editor at CityLab.