Lalibela – the New Jerusalem of Ethiopia

The World Heritage site of Lalibela in northern Ethiopia is the most moving religious shrine I ever visited. The dozen wonderful churches were carved out of solid pink granite about eight hundred years ago and are considered the “New Jerusalem”. As in most sites in Ethiopia very little is know about the origin of these churches and who sculpted them, but once you enter this makes very little difference.

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What is most touching about this place, more than the beauty of the chapels, is the human devotion of the white robed pilgrims. Nowhere have I encountered a sanctuary so permeated through and through with pure piety.  This stems partially from the fact that the Ethiopians, one of the earliest Christian nations still practice one of its most primeval forms. We visited during the holy days of Eastern. It was particularly remarkable how kind and welcoming the pilgrims, chanting for hours their lovely slightly monotonously sounding hymns, welcomed us to their ceremonies.

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St. George (St. Georgyus) is consider the most perfect of all the churches.

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