Deeply rooted in Orthodox Christianity, 11 churches form what is known as historical Lalibela, Ethiopia.
During the 12th century, King Lalibela commissioned construction of the churches. They were not created as per common building methods of the time, but were excavated from the rocky earth, painstakingly hewn and chiselled to form doors, windows and interiors. Depending on whom you ask, you may be told that angels built the churches in the silence of the night.
Despite discrepancies in Lalibela’s history, the churches are impressive. Modern Day Lalibela however, has two faces. True to its purpose, locals draped in godly-white cloth occupy the grounds from dawn. Worshipping the churches, kissing the rock walls and introspectively chanting text from their bibles. The space vibrates serenity in the early morning light.
As the strong Ethiopian sun pierces the sky, locals disperse to work, to school or home. By 9am the stone grounds are filled with khaki wearing tourists by the busload, full-bellied from their buffet breakfast and armed with their cameras and guides.