Ethiopia! Part One…
Tom arrived in Ethiopia today, leaving me with the second best option of looking at photographs and occupying my time with wishful thinking! So, I thought I would share with you the fruits of my labour!
Aside from its incredible, diverse natural beauty and endless panoramic landscapes, Ethiopia is home to many of the oldest human remains and some call it the cradle of civilization. Since approximately the 3rd century BC (same say 1000 BC) Ethiopia has been ruled over by a monarchy. In the 4th century AD the royal family adopted Christianity as the national religion. Consequently the country is home to some of the oldest and most fascinating churches in the world.
Betgeorgis, Lalibela, c.1300 AD
Church at Lalibela
In the 12th century, Lalibela, King of the Zague dynasty, was eager to cement his rather fragile claim of descent from Menelik, son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba of Biblical origins. And so he commissioned ten churches to be hewn out of the living volcanic rock in what was then known as Roha – his capital city – now Lalibela. Some believe that these extraordinary churches are the 8th wonder of the world. Perhaps out of a combination of deep devotion and pride King Lalibela wanted to create a new version of Jerusalem, in order to attract pilgrims, and to move the centre of Christianity to his capital. The story goes that after being poisoned by his half-brother, the king fell into a deep coma where he had visions of visiting heaven and being instructed by God to return to his country and found a re-creation of Jerusalem there. Each of these magnificent churches is connected by a labyrinthine series of underground passages, tunnels and bridges!
Magic Pass, Lalibela
To see what Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, looks like, check out the link below: