Code: PET3001: Rock Churches of Lalibela
Duration: 3days/2nights
Transport: Air and surface


Day 1: Fly to Lalibela  

Lalibela: “A kingdom of the Living Rock”. Lalibela stands on soft red volcanic rock and was originally known as Roha. It was later renamed Lalibela when King Lalibela was credited with building the rock-hewn churches there in the late twelfth century and early thirteenth century . It is now regarded as one of the greatest Ethiopian architectural wonders and is ranked the eighth most incredible historical site in the world by UNESCO. There are no less than 200 churches in the Lasta Region of Lalibela, some hidden in enormous caves, but it's exceptional to find 11 churches of such master craftsmanship in one locale. These brilliant feats of engineering and architecture are often referred to as the "Eighth wonder of the world".

This day you will explore the atmospheric subterranean complex of passages and the extra-ordinary 11 remarkable rock-hewn churches /First group/  (Bet Golgota, Bet Mika’al, Bet Mariam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel and Bet Medhane Alem (the Saviour of the world, this is the greatest and in some ways the most impressive of the Lalibela churches. It stands on a plinth in the middle of a huge 40 by 38 m. excavation in the rock, with entry passages in the northwest and southwest corners. There are some tombs and storage caves cut into the walls of this pit. The church is rectangular, 33.5 m. long, 23.5 m. wide, and 11 m. high. In the northeast part of the church near the entrance to the sanctuary three tombs cut into the floor are shown; they are attributed to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). Bete Giorgis (St. George) it is the most beautiful and completely monolithic cruciform church and symbolization of Noah's Arc belong to the third group of rock church consists of a great block of red-coloured rock cut into the shape of a cross. It stands in the midst of a trench 12 m. deep.

Day 2: AM:  In Lalibela

Option 1: excursion on mule back to the mountain and visit the rock church at the top of Mount Asheton, which is 3200 meters. /5hrs…going there and back/ or you can drive and will take about 1hrs and walk about 20-30min one way/

Option 2: 10 kms drive outside Lalibela to visit Neakuto Le’ab built-up cave church. King Neakuto Le’ab abdicated his throne in 1270 AD in preference for a hermit life in a cave. This cave, dramatically set, has become a monastery. In houses an interesting collection of ancient crosses, illuminated manuscripts and icons some attributed to its founder Neakuto Le’ab.

Option 3:  / 4-5hrs/ excursion to visit Yemrehane Kirstos built-up cave church- Christ will show the way. This church is located in the mountains northeast of Lalibela. Yemrehane Kirstos, a priest-King prior to King Lalibela, founded it in the first half of the 12th century. Built within a cave in wood and stone following the Axumite tradition, it’s inside carvings and geometrically patterned decorations are exceptional.

PM: Drive back to Lalibela for lunch and afternoon visit the remaining second group of rock churches of Lalibela. They are four in number and they represent heavenly Jerusalem. Bet Gabre’el Rufa’el, Bet Abba Libanos, Bet Mercurius and Bet Emmanuel, this is the monolithic church symbolizes the seven Heavens. It has a basilica-like floor and is a definitive example of Axumite architecture and decoration. On the third level there are seven windows representing the seven heavens- one to the west, and three on both of its north and south faces.


Day 3: Transfer to the airport and fly back to Addis; sightseeing. Evening farewell dinner party in Ethiopian traditional restaurant with Music and dances from the different ethnic groups



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