Photo of the Week: Lalibela, carved by angels
A worshipper pauses at the steps to one Lalibela’s breath-taking rock-hewn churches. These remarkable buildings were carved out of rock some 900 hundred years ago and are still in use by the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian community.
Legend has it that King Lalibela in the 12th century received the vision for this underground city of churches when he went into a coma after being poisoned by his brother. When he awoke, he was said to have been in heaven where God had given him the instructions for a “New Jerusalem”.
The King’s subjects went about creating the vision. A whole network of churches, of which eleven are still standing, was carved out of the rocky ground, with doors, windows, columns, drainage ditches, passages, hermit caves and catacombs. The entire structure was constituted by a single rock. Nothing was added, but only chipped away.
It was an enormous and costly endeavour, but the story goes that it took years rather than decades to complete because while men worked on it by day, angels continued their work by night.
Photograph by Göran Höglund.
For more on Ethiopia, see:
- Ethiopia was colonised
- Ethiopia uprising: Whither solidarity?
- The Ethiopia protesters’ struggle moves to the athletics track
- Ethiopia’s rubbish policies
In our Photo of the Week, we showcase one of the boldest and most beautiful images, old or new, that we’ve come across that week. If you’d like to submit a photograph to be featured, please email [email protected].