Somaliland sun – The 11 medieval churches hewn from solid, volcanic rock in the heart of Ethiopia were built on the orders of King Lalibela in the 12th century. Lalibela set out to construct a “New Jerusalem” in Africa after Muslims conquests halted Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
Legend has it that the design and layout of the churches mimic those observed by the king in Jerusalem, which he had visited as a youth. Many place names across the town are also said to originate from the king’s memories of the Biblical city.
Take a tour of the World Heritage site that draws visitors and pilgrims with its monolithic churches carved into the ground and designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978 with Aljazeera’s Jenna Belhumeur in Pilgrimage to Ethiopia’s 12th-century iconic churches