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Ethiopia: Lalibela's underground churches

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02/23/13

  08:37:49 pm, by admin, 223 words  
Categories: Tourism

Ethiopia: Lalibela's underground churches

Photo / Thinkstock

Ethiopia: Lalibela's underground churches

By Chris Pritchard

Awe-struck visitors often call Lalibela's underground churches the most impressive sight in all of Africa. They're also arguably Africa's most mysterious attraction.

Ruins such as Cambodia's Angkor Wat and Peru's Machu Picchu spark intense speculation about how they came to be built - along with unabashed amazement at the ancients' architectural abilities.

Such destinations are firmly on tourist trails, with multitudinous hotels and diverse attractions to complement exploration of the ruins themselves.

But Lalibela is far less widely known.

Tourists occasionally boast of encountering no other visitors.

Egypt's pyramids are commonly considered Africa's top constructed attraction. However, some who've eyeballed Lalibela maintain it's even more memorable than the pyramids of Giza.

My low-level flight from Addis Ababa to Lalibela crosses semi-arid countryside more reminiscent of Australia's outback than the lush jungles of equatorial Africa. Long ridges extend like giant's fingers over a harsh landscape. Some farming families' homes perch precariously at cliff edges.

Lalibela lures foreigners to Ethiopia, a regionally important Horn of Africa nation.

It's still visited mostly by intrepid backpackers and upmarket tourists (some on escorted packages). Mid-market tourism is in its infancy.

The town is named after King Lalibela, a revered 12th-century monarch. Why were the underground churches built? The answer is a mix of oral history and local legend.

Read more ...

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Comment from: john john [Visitor]
5 stars
john john

Yes you said it all “The most impressive sight in all Africa".
This what make proud of this nation.

02/23/13 @ 22:25
Comment from: C'est moi senait [Visitor]
C'est moi senait

And Axum

When the FALASHA BUILD All Axum in those days ,they left us a home work. These days chiggaram weyannes think they build them but it was the falash who build all historical places. This is a new lesson to all KUUTTAARAMS.

02/24/13 @ 04:09
Comment from: Zemen [Visitor]
Zemen

C’est moi senait;

Normal human being can change when the time goes by and learn from the facts. But you are getting every time from bad to worst.

What do you know about the Felasha except the way you are behaving? Is it because of the outsiders are telling you writing fake/fiction stories about them for last few years? You are a sick man.

Felasha or Bete Israel.

Felasha is an Amharic word originated from a with Noun “Felset". Felsent means moving from one place to another by the situation or that could be by choice, by force or by circumstances.

As we know from Facts including from Tana Lake Monasteries, Ethiopia was a Jewish follower almost 1000 years before Christianity. It is not a story but a fact and you can go there and see by yourself how they were performing the old Jewish rituals including the slaughter of sheep and other sacrifices. 90% the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition, customs, ceremony and rules are from the old Jewish.

When Christianity came, gradually most of the people accepted/meaning the Messiah they were waiting as Jewish is already arrived i.e. Jesus. But there were others refused to accept and they decided to remain Jewish. Remember: the people are the same people with everything natural as well as human made including culture, tradition and custom.
Then it became conflicts between them and the Christians law/Ezana, prohibited them the right of having Erest(land ownership). Instead they forced them to leave the area and they became landless. This way they got the name “Felasha".
If you think they came from Israel and as the result they are being called Felasha, You are damp wrong. This is how others are writing fiction stories about them to become their wrong/none existing history.

Bete Israel is also an Amharic word meaning their home is in Israel. The reason why they got this name is because of if they want to continue believing in Judaism, they have to go to Israel. That means their home must be in Israel, not in Ethiopia. If they were accepting Christianity the same times when the rest were doing, the word Felasha or bete Israel would never exist.

As far as with the real Israeli(those immigrated from Egypt with mosses) concern, there is no one in Ethiopia but the Habesha people have a historical and blood connection with them. According to the new DNA finding, the Amharic/habesha Ethiopians are more related to ancient Egypt, Israel and Syrians than to the Arabs.

So, clean your dirty mind with facts, not remain stupid reading and eating fiction stories about them telling by the outsiders that have no idea what they are talking about. As far as the Bete Israeli concern, they are gone and leave them alone. They seem also are losing themselves to nowhere rather than they are doing everything to keep their ties with Ethiopia including knowing the Ethiopic alphabets and using Amharic.

02/24/13 @ 05:16
Comment from: Workamaw [Visitor]
Workamaw

Addis Zemen makes some sense sometimes. This is one of his many opinions that I found appealing. One has to of course support his arguments with evidences. In any case I found your line of argument logical. It seems to me most highlanders of northern Ethiopia were the same Agaws and Falashas we know today except the difference in religion and cultures. Separating agaws and falashas from Amharas and Tigres seems to me a futile attempt. I believe we shar the same blood. Unfortunately, TPLFites never ceased driving wedges into any fine crack they see or make among the same people for their cheap gains. This is nothing but lack of farsightedness and greed for power. Addis Zemen, while agree to your analysis, I ask you now why do you relentlessly support such evil group called TPLF while you believe that I and you are brother and nothing less? Why do you try to justify this system of brother-eat-brother? Why are you so happy to live at the expense of your brothers and sisters of Ethiopia while we cam produce from our blessed land enough to feed and support all of us? Why all this greed? Why do your bosses deny that thhe Axum civilization has nothing to do with the rest of Ethiopia but Axum and a few Awrajas? May I assume that the motto “some are more equal” working well for you the few when millions of your own people are suffering and denied their God-given freedom and peace? Think twice if you indeed in the equality of the people of Kenya and not of a few elites from a few awrajas?

02/24/13 @ 07:38
Comment from: Ash [Visitor]
Ash

Can someone pls power wash all those algae from Lalibela…

02/24/13 @ 07:42
Comment from: MOUSTAPHA KAREEM [Visitor]  
5 stars
MOUSTAPHA KAREEM

Facinating. Egypt is the First Nome. New York is the twenty-first. What’s the last one, the Three-hundred-and-sixtieth? ETHIOPIANS you cannot build the pyramids of Egypt by sitting on the couch even the top of this Lalibela building you see it the bird poop every side and the grass molding of a stone arch this is shame

02/24/13 @ 09:11
Comment from: Wolo [Visitor]
Wolo

Please can you give me an answer for this question? Either an Amharic Alphabet? Where are the Ge ez Alphabets? Either any history that support to say Amharic Alphabet or Tigrigna Alphabet?
Thank you for your answer.

02/24/13 @ 12:06
Comment from: SALMAN KHAN [Visitor]  
5 stars
SALMAN KHAN

Nine years ago, French architect Jean-Pierre Houdin became obsessed by the centuries-old mystery of how the Great Pyramid was built. For ten hours a day, he labored at his computer to create exquisitely detailed 3-D models of the interior of the Great Pyramid. After five years of effort, the images rotating on his computer screen provided evidence of an astonishing secret. Corkscrewing up the inside of the Great Pyramid is a mile-long ramp, unseen for 4,500 years. The pyramid was built from the inside. This revelation casts a fresh light on the minds that conceived one of the wonders of the ancient world.

“The Secret of the Great Pyramid” moves between the ancient and the modern. The ancient story chronicles, step-by-step, how a nation of farmers only recently emerged from the Stone Age could construct one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. To execute something as complex and massive as the Great Pyramid, Egypt needed architects, mathematicians, boat builders, stone masons, and metallurgists. It took twenty years to build the Great Pyramid. By the time its capstone was laid in 2560 B.C., the innovations born of the building quest had transformed agrarian Egypt into the world’s most modern, most powerful nation.

As we follow the progress of Hemienu, the innovative architect who planned, organized, and oversaw construction of the Great Pyramid, we also follow Houdin working to discover how and why the ancient architect designed the Pyramid as he did. Houdin works as a forensic architect, aiming to reconstruct the lessons Hemienu had learned from construction of three previous pyramids and to visualize his blueprint for the massive stone building. In the process, Houdin also discovers the answers to other questions that have bedeviled Egyptologists for centuries: such as what was the purpose of the mysterious Grand Gallery and when did the Pyramid crack? Along the way, Houdin receives the support of a pathbreaking French software company, which helps him validate his theory virtually–a first in archaeology discover the world�s first civilization! This beautiful volume is a fascinating guide to the myths, religions, pyramids, temples, and more that make up the allure of ancient Egypt. Readers will gain a unique understanding of this captivating culture through breathtaking, full-color illustrations, in-depth text, detailed maps, and comprehensive chronologies. You�ll read about:
- Famous burial sites
- The mortuary temples of the many gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt
- Gods and goddesses
- Pharaohs
- Festivals
- Offerings
- Superstitions
- And more! An invaluable reference to one of the most intriguing periods of history.

02/24/13 @ 15:11
Comment from: Assta B. Gettu [Visitor]
Assta B. Gettu

Chris Pritch’s article is interesting; however, he has made an error in his article: He has said:

“The still-used complex remains sacred to just over half of Ethiopia’s 90 million people - followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, one of the world’s oldest Christian denominations which traces its history to the fourth century.”

I would say one of the oldest Christian Churches is the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church that tracks its history not to the fourth century but to the first century.

02/24/13 @ 15:41
Comment from: Observer [Visitor]
Observer

C’est moi senait,

You are an absolute Dingy Ras. If you are a felash then that is your right to be proud of your heritage but Felashas are not Cristians and they will be the last people that will be building Christian churches. By the way, if Felashas came to Ethiopia and teach the backward African then we would have used alphabets and language from the Felashas but we dong. The script we use Geze is a lot older than Hebrew and even older than Aremia which Hebrew comes from. So your stupid Felasha came and learned to speak our Ethiopian Language. Why do the Felashas came to Ethiopia, do you know why? They came to learn you dumb ass. Even the FAROs of Egypt 3000 years ago they used to turn East to the highlands of Ethiopia and pray because they believe all gods come from their. Ok. That is why the Felashs came to Ethiopia to see meet the God. They came and learn from 6000 year old civilization. Jewish Hebrew, Persian, or Egyptian civilizations are in the past 4000 years at most. Ethiopian civilization dates more than 6000 years. So you can take your Jewish Ass back to Israel the stolen land.

We Ethiopian know about our history and no Idiot like you don’t tell us what our history is.

I am with you when it comes the Leba TPLF government but you Stupid argument about Ethiopian civilization is dumb. Europians say the same thing you are saying indicating Ethiopians are Sematic people and we are a mixture of middle eastern and Africans which is full of crap. Semetic people like the Arabs dumb Jews like you are migrants from Ethiopia and Ethiopia civilization and not the other way around. A child can not give birth to her mother, OK?. Get you facts straight.

02/24/13 @ 16:07
Comment from: derbaba weyzerit [Visitor]
derbaba weyzerit

Selam lahulachihum. nazretn manbeb kejemerkugn bizu ghize honognal, commentachiu andande yighermegnal, andande yannadidegnal, andande betam betam sibeza yasikegnalim, TNNISH ghize addis TIRU negherm yastemregnal. Zare ghin beka bezabign, menagher alebign. Ke hagher wuchi hono zim bilo ken lelit be internet menezanez AYSELECHIM?? WUHA BIWEKTUT IMBOCH ALE YAGHERE SEW! hule yemitawerut yemitchakachekut sile YAW NEGHER, weryachu hulla mozaza!! YERASIN HASSAB MAKREB AND NEGHER..BALE BELELEW ZIM BILO MEDREK LELA NEGHER. SILE MAMA ETHIOPIA TIRU BIWERA BAYWERA, IWNET BINNEGHER WUSHET BITSAF, YEMMITILUT, YEMITANESUT AGENDA HULLE YAW, YEMAYKEYER. Andande min yimeslegnal meselachihu BEHYWETU YETENADEDE YEKOSELE HULA MEWECHA MEDREK! U U U YEMILBET YATAW HULA YEMISEBESEBIBET.. BEBADO MEDA MESEDADEB MEZELALEF ERE BAKACHIW YIBKA!! Le hulu negher LEKET yemiyasfelighew yimeslegnal. melkam ken/ mshit. selamina tena lehulachin.

02/24/13 @ 17:01
Comment from: Observer [Visitor]
Observer

C’est moi senait,

The worst kind of person is KEHADE person that betrays his country and people and that is what you are. I don’t think you are Ethiopian because no Ethiopian give credit his countries achievement to someone else unless he or she is a BANDA.

If you are Felash and live in Israel as 3 class citizen then that is your problem. The white Jews look down on you and you are trying to look down on Ethiopians to make yourself feel good is pathetic. We know who we are and actually we feel sorry for you because you are one confused puppy.

02/24/13 @ 17:26
Comment from: aksum [Member]  
aksum

@Salman Khan !

Ancient Egypt is built by ethiopians. ethiopians (Tigreans and amharas specially) are the direct descendants of ancient Egypt. Ethiopia means black, Egypt means black, Sudan means also black. Egypt is thus Ethiopia and Sudan in the old days.

The Arabs , who are the majority now, are not egyptians. They are arabs who in the meantime see ancient Egypt as part of their history.
Blacks founded ancient Egypt. Nubians are still present in Egypt, but they are in the minority and are not participating in politics. Ethiopia and ancient Egypt have the same culture. It is only ethiopians who have prederved the culture of ancient Egypt. Arabs in Egypt should go back to the Middle East where the came from in 10th Century Christ Era.

02/24/13 @ 18:28
Comment from: SALMAN KHAN [Visitor]  
5 stars
SALMAN KHAN

The Biblical History Of Human Civilization

By David J. Stewart

One of the keys to understanding the Bible is to understand the chronological order of world civilizations. They are namely:

Egypt
Assyria
Babylon
Medo-Persia
Greece
Rome
New World Order
Antichrist
If you keep in mind what I’ve just shown you, then the Bible makes perfect sense in Revelation 17:10-11, “And there are seven kings: five are fallen (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece), and one is (Rome), and the other is not yet come (the New World Order); and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast (the Antichrist) that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.”

So here we clearly learn that with the fall of the Roman empire in 476 AD, there has been no world power since and we are awaiting the 7th king, which will be the New World Order. Since Rome fell to chaos, anarchy, social breakdown and eventual ruin in 476 AD there has not been a world power. There are many super powers today, like the United States, China and Russia, but no world powers. That is, no one nation controls the whole world. The forming New World Order (NWO) is NOT the revived Roman Empire. The Bible never teaches that Rome will revive.

The NWO is the 7th king mentioned in Revelation 17:11, from which comes the 8th (the Antichrist). The Bible says he will continue for a short space (the 7 year Tribulation) and then go into perdition (the Lake of Fire). This is a snapshot of world history as given from the Bible. Pretty awesome stuff, huh?

It should be very clear to you now why the Bible continually says that we are living in the “last days.” World government is forming right before our eyes, aka, the New World Order. As technology advances, so also will the police state, raising up a Global Godless Totalitarian Communist Police State over humanity. Freedom and liberty will gradually become a thing of the past, dreams of years gone by.

When I hear the old gospel quartets (I have umpteen old records) and see the ladies all wearing dresses, and the men dressed like men, and all the decent churches, and the white picket fences and wrap around front porches of old America; I am amazed how our nation totally went apostate in less than 60 years. Today we have overcrowded housing projects, ghetto hoods, drive-by-shootings, a nationwide criminal syndicate operating through local thug street gangs, an epidemic drug problem, sleazy television, women all wear pants and whorish attire, men are dirty-minded, churches are all liberal and dead, blatant crime saturates our government, et cetera. Great America is gone along with our once great Christianity! A World Decaying Because Of Man (by Evangelist Lester Roloff, 1914-1982 | MP3’s).

Anyway, if you keep in mind the chronological order of world powers that I just taught you, it will greatly help you to understand the Bible, which parallels these great civilizations.

For example: We learn in the Bible that Moses lived during the reign of Egypt as a world power. The Jewish slaves built some of the Egyptian pyramids, the treasured cities of Pithom and Raamses (Exodus 1:11).

We see in the Scriptures that Isaiah the prophet was sent by God to preach revival to the Northern kingdom of Israel (Samaria) during the reign of Assyria as a World power. The Assyrian king, Shalmaneser V, conquered northern Israel in 722 BC and took the Jews to Assyria. The Assyrians were a world power and had conquered other nations as well, so king Shalmaneser repopulated northern Israel with people that he had taken captive from Babylon and other countries. These new settlers became known as the Samaritans. That’s really interesting.

The Samaritans didn’t know what they worshipped, because their nation was formed in 722 BC as a melting pot of all different religions from different cultures and nations. This is exactly what Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well 700 years later in John 4:22, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” The Samaritans were very much like America is today, that is, a melting pot of all cultures, religions and nations. Thus, people don’t know what they worship today in America. Some worship the Virgin Mary (idolatry). Others worship Allah (idolatry). Allah has no son; but the God of Israel has a Son and His precious name is Jesus Christ.

Many Americans worship mankind, which is called humanism (idolatry). Many humanists are religious and claim to be Christians, but they are imposters, fakes and not Christian at all. They masquerade as Christians to deceive others. You can spot a religious humanist because they deny the verbal inspiration of the Bible (i.e., that God wrote it, every Word), and they speak about bettering mankind without the need for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without the cross of Calvary there can be no hope, nor improvement, nor betterment of humanity. The world needs Christ’s righteousness!!! My only fear is the disfavor of God. My only desire is the righteousness of Christ! Amen!

Jonah the prophet was sent by God to preach a revival message to the Assyrian capital city of Nineveh. The Assyrians repented! Albeit, 150 years later they went back into apostasy and God sent Nahum the prophet to pronounce doom upon them. It makes the Bible more interesting when you see how secular history aligns with the Scriptures. Amos, Hosea and Micah all preached during the reign of Assyria.

Then there’s Babylon, which was a world power during the Old Testament books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Lamentations, Obadiah and Daniel. Here’s a chart that I made to help you understand.

After Babylon, Medo-Persia (Medes and Persians) became a world power. The book of Esther happened during the reign of Medo-Persia and Esther marries the king. Daniel the prophet also lived to see the reign of Medo-Persia. Persia today is Iran. Ezra and Nehemiah rebuilt the temple and the wall.

Then Greece became a world power, during which Alexander The Great became a mighty military leader. The Greeks were renowned for their sports, nudity and Greek mythology (which is still a subject of fascination worldwide today). The Bible is silent for 400 years of history during the Greek rule of the world. The Septuagint (named for the 70 scholars who translated the Old Testament into Greek, including the Chaldean book of Daniel) was produced.

The sixth world power was Rome, represented by the legs of iron in Nebuchadnezzar’s image. The entire New Testament was written during the brutal reign of the Roman Empire over the world. They crucified the Lord and nearly all the apostles. It’s beautiful when you study world history alongside the Scriptures and see how they intertwine. The Bible is composed of one-third prophecy. In sharp contrast, the Muslim Koran contain NO prophecy. Most of the Messianic prophecies have already come true, and still some are waiting to be fulfilled in the future. The Bible is never wrong, never!

God is so awesome! Anyone who studies Biblical prophecy with an open mind and heart can only come to the blessed conclusion that the Bible is true, true, true! I get excited when I think and realize that the Bible is true. Think of all the wonderful things which God has promised to do for the righteous in the life to come, life eternal. Amen and amen!

You’ll never hear a presentation of world history as simple and Biblical as what I’ve just shared with you.

where is Ethiopian?????, all this mosses is an Israeli and Ancient Egyptian grandfather’s Arabians

02/24/13 @ 19:34
Comment from: Observer [Visitor]
Observer

Magdala,

you are correct there are very good evidence that the highland of Ethiopia was a source of technology and civilization that was a source for Egypt and the rest of the Arab world. One misstatement you made is we are direct descendant of ancient Egypt. I think you meant to say is ancient Egypt were descendant of Ethiopia which is true to any human race on earth. Since Ethiopia ruled most of Africa and middle east then Egypt will not be an exception.

Even in resent past (1200-1700) Ethiopians have migrated to places like India and created kingdoms and ruled India and far east. If you are interested about Ethiopia’s impact in Asia or Indian Ocean countries please google “The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean Countries” and you will find articles about an exhibit that will show specially what Ethiopian did in Asia.

SALMAN KHAN,

Please don’t cut and past someone’s writing. If you want just give us the link and we will read it. You are cluttering the space.

02/24/13 @ 19:44

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