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IPFS News Link • Africa: On the Map

Stunning photos of a new African wonder


Legend has it that the dramatic rock-hewn churches of Lalibela were created with the help of a team of angels. Buried deep into the rock in the highlands of northern Ethiopia, the 11 monolithic churches were built in the late 12th and early 13th Centuries by King Lalibela, who, so he claimed, had built the churches on the instruction from God.

With the Crusades in full swing and the pilgrimage sites of Jerusalem too dangerous to visit, the Lalibela churches were envisioned to be a "new" Jerusalem and a place of pilgrimage for Ethiopia's large Orthodox Christian community.

Today, the churches remain a major place of pilgrimage for Ethiopia's Christians. They're also a Unesco World Heritage site, and international travellers flock here to see one of Africa's most extraordinary historical spots.