Lalibela is a monastic city located at 2,630 meters above sea level, surrounded by a traditional village of "Lasta Tukuls". Holy City of the Orthodox Christians of Ethiopia, it remains famous for its eleven medieval monolithic churches carved in the rock, commissioned by King Gebre Meskel Lalibela, in the 12th century (and classified as UNESCO World Heritage since 1978). The topography of the city corresponds to a symbolic representation of the Holy Land and earned it the nickname of "Black Jerusalem". Nowadays, Lalibela is a high place of pilgrimage of Ethiopian Christianity, theater of great ceremonies during the epiphany (Timkat) and Christmas

The main churches to visit are:

Northwestern Enclosure:

  • The church Bete Medhane Alem is the largest monolithic church in the world, covering an area of 800m ².

  • Bete Maryam has a richly decorated interior, with engravings of the original cross of Lalibela and the cross of David, inscriptions in Greek and Geez of the 10 commandments and stories of the construction of the churches of Lalibela.

  • Bete Meskel and Bete Denagel present varied decorations and symbolic arrangements that testify to the originality of Ethiopian Christianity.

  • Bete Golgotha & Mikael are two twin churches forming a semi-monolithic structure.

  • - The tomb of Adam is a monolithic building retaining the representation of a cross nearly 1.5 meters high.

Southeast Enclosure:

  • - Bete Amanuel and Bete Gebriel-Rufael are the two most remarkable buildings on the south bank of the Yordannos.

  • The church of Saint Emmanuel has a rich external ornamentation and is connected to the church Bete Mercorios by a tunnel of 35 meters long.

  • The Abba Libanos church is excavated on all four sides but has the peculiarity of being attached to the rock by its summit.

  • Betelhem, mistakenly considered as a church, was in fact a guarding tower forming part of the defensive devices scattered around the churches.

Church of Bete Giyorgis:

  • This church, isolated to the south-west of the village, is the best known of the churches of Lalibela. It is unique for its design in the form of a Greek cross.