Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Rock Churches of Lalibela

Eleven Churches were carved
out of red volcanic rock about
1200 AD by King Lailibea. This
is Bet Medhane Alem, the largest.
There are 3 empty graves inside
for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Each church has a chanting
room, a holy room, and a Holy
 of Holies. This is Bet Maryam. 
A wooden footbridge takes visitors
over a deep gorge to Bet Gabriel
All were carved with a chisel and
hammer. Most are smooth with fine
details but some are roughly hewn.

The tomb of Adam in
Bet Golgotha.

We walked through 50 meter dark tunnel
 representing hell and coming up out
into the light of Heaven. They do not
let you use a flashlight. You put one
hand on the right wall and one on the
ceiling and keep walking forward in
pitch black darkness. This is the exit.

Bet Mariam with a lot of
symbolism, the star of David,
a dove, an all seeing eye,
different crosses, and
Jacob's Ladder.

The many niches carved in the outer
walls were tombs. The skeletons have all
been removed except for three.
Pathways and tunnels connecting the different churches. Below:
Baptismal fonts deep enough for immersion but now they sprinkle and pour too.

Three views of Bet Giyorgis. The whole
church is built in the shape of a  Greek cross.

People used to be able to walk
up the Straight and Narrow
Path. If they were righteous,
they didn't fall off.

Since this railing was near the path, we
will call it the iron rod. 
Door with many large nails so
noone could chop it open.


The curtain of the Holy of Holies
but only the Highest priest could
go inside.
Bet Emmanuel

Bet Abba Libbanos
The shortcut climbing out of Bet Giyorgis.

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