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Aincient historical site St George Lalibela Church

ImageA  medieval settlement in the Lasta area of Wallo, lies at the centre of an extensive complex of rock churches. Some can be reached by one or two hours'  drive, others are a full day's journey. Lalibela has 11 remarkable rock-hewn  monolithic churches, believed to have been built by King Lalibela in the late 12th or early 13th Century. These notable structures are carved, inside and out,  into the solid rock, and are considered to be among the wonders of the world.  Each building is architecturally unique but each reflects beautifully executed  craftsmanship, and several are decorated with fascinating paintings. These  astonishing edifices remain places of living worship to this day.

 

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The monolithic Bet Giorgis - dedicated to the national saint of Ethiopia is isolated from the other two groups of churches. It is located in the southwest of the village on a sloping rock terrace. In its deep pit with perpendicular walls it can only be reached through a tunnel which is entered from some distance away through a trench. Small round caves and chambers have been found in the walls of the courtyard graves for pious pilgrims and monks.

The church is described as Lalibela's "most elegant" and "refined" in its architecture and stonemasonry. Although its floor plan is of a cross with nearly equal arms the church is properly orientated, the main entrance being in the west, the holy of holies in the east.
Exterior
Like a tower the cruciform church cut out of the pink tuff rises from its triple-stepped platform, the regularity of which is broken only by the landings in front of the three doorways in the west, north and south. The roof decoration, often represented as the symbol of the Lalibela monuments on photographs and postcards, is a relief of three equilateral Greek crosses inside each other. On the north, south and west sides, gutters and spouts drain the water from the roof.

One of the more sophisticated details of Bet Giorgis is that the wall thickness increases step by step downwards but that the increase is cleverly hidden by the horizontal bands of mouldings on the exterior walls.
Interior
Despite the orientation you will find that the interior of the church follows the cruciform floor plan of the church. There are no genuine pillars; instead four three-sided pilasters with. corbels support the arches. The dome above the sanctuary in the eastern arm of the church is decorated with a croix pattee in relief, while the flat ceiling of the other arms display a straight relief cross: The ceiling of the intersection is left without decoration.