The 11 medieval monolithic cave churches of Lalibela (13th-century 'New Jerusalem') are located near a traditional town with circular-shaped homes in a hilly location in the center of Ethiopia. Lalibela is a holy spot for Ethiopian Christians, a center of pilgrimage and devotion until today.
In a hilly location in the heart of Ethiopia, some 645 kilometers from Addis Ababa, eleven medieval monolithic cathedrals were cut out of rock. Their construction is credited to King Lalibela, who set out in the 12th century to establish a "New Jerusalem."
Travel to Ethiopia to explore the Church of Lalibela
1. Discover the 11 churches of Lalibela
King Lalibela carved 11 magnificent rock churches. The splendor of these cathedrals has not gone unnoticed by international tourists; they are magnets for luring people to the holy land since they are among the most magnificent and distinctive monuments in the world.
How were the churches of Lalibela divided into groups?
Western clusters of churches of Lalibela
- Lalibela Bete Medhane Alem (House of the Saviour of the World), home to the Lalibela Cross and the world's biggest monolithic church;
- The oldest church is Bete Maryam (House of Mary).
- Bete Golgotha Mikael (House of Golgotha Mikael), King Lalibela's tomb.
- Bete Maskal (Crucifixion House);
- Denagel, Bete (House of Virgins).
Eastern Group of Lalibela
- Biete Amanuel's Eastern Group of Lalibela (House of Emmanuel);
- Biete Qeddus Mercoreus (St. Mercoreos' House);
- Biete Abba Libanos (Abbot Libanos' House);
- Gabriel-Rufael Biete (House of the Angels Gabriel and Raphael);
- Lehem, Biete (Bethlehem).
Separate Church of Bete Giyorgis
- Bete Giyorgis (Church of Saint George) has been hewn in the shape of a cross and is separated from the others by trenches.
Lalibela's Top Three Attractive Churches
The churches of Lalibela are pretty active in the everyday lives of the locals. They come every morning to pray and attend Mass.
Bete Medhane Alem has the form of a Greek temple. The largest rock-cut church of Lalibela is Bete Medhane Alem. It covers around 800 m2 and has 36 indoor and outdoor pillars.
Bete Amanuel is unrivaled. Bete Amnauel Carved in the shape of a basilica church, Betemedhanial is considered the greatest of all the churches of Lalibela. It is also regarded as one of the finest specimens of Axumite architecture in Ethiopia's ancient capital.
St. George is recognized as the most famous church. The vista of the church emerging from the Earth on an outcrop of land is stunning in the shape of a cross.
Churches of Lalibela
2. Top questions for explorers Churches of Lalibela
What time are the churches of Lalibela Open for visitors?
Because the priest works at the church, they usually get up before midnight, go to church to pray and serve, and then return home after 9 a.m. For the priests, this is extremely stressful. The church management has mandated that the church be available to guests daily from 8:30 AM to 12:30 AM, and subsequently from 1:30 PM until 5:30 PM.
The ideal time to visit the churches of Lalibela is early in the morning for the first church group and the second church group in the afternoon.
How to visit the churches of Lalibela?
Before entering the churches, you must pay the admission charge and collect your receipt. The fee of admission to the churches is $50 and is valid for four days. You should keep the ticket secure since you may be requested for it at the church gates you visit.
The ticket office is located close to the Bete Medhanialem entrance.
When is the best time to visit Lalibela and the rock-hewn churches?
Lalibela is Ethiopia's most popular tourist destination. There are tourists virtually all year round. The months and ideal time of year to visit Lalibela are shown here. We believe it will assist you in making better decisions:
Between October and February
October through February is the best time to visit Lalibela. The sun shines throughout the day. The weather is neither hot nor cold, and it is typically pleasant. This is also the peak season for tourists.
Attend the Ethiopian Christmas festival
Ethiopia calendar is a different calendar, and Christmas is observed on January 7 (or January 8 in the leap year). Christmas in Lalibela is vibrant and one-of-a-kind. Another reason for the large celebration is that it is Emperor Lalibela's birthday, and Emperor Lalibela is considered a saint by the church.
Participate in the chanting and dancing of the Beza Kullu priests in the morning. Many residents walked, drove, and flew for days to Lalibela to join the event.
The sun is still shining brightly, but there is a danger of sporadic showers. The tourist surge is still noticeable. Although Lalibela is crowded at this time of year, it is not as busy as it is during the high season.
From June through September
Rainfall in Lalibela occurs from June until the end of September. While not ideal, the rainy season is excellent if you want to avoid crowds.
The best time to visit Lalibela
3. Things to do in Lalibela and around the churches
The churches of Lalibela are all distinct and diverse. There is no way to miss one, but the St. George Church, also known as Bet Giorgis, is unusual among the churches in that it is purposefully situated to provide a view of the iconic cross form.
Sunset at Ben Abeba Restaurant: a lovely sunset at the Ben Abeba Restaurant. Reservations are required to ensure a decent seat.
The history and traditions surrounding the churches of Lalibela may have taken you on a dignified religious history trip. To observe the unique architecture mentioned in the essay, you will likely need to take a field trip to Ethiopia. Our e-Visa service will satisfy you in terms of speed and simplicity.
Explore Ethiopia Immigration Service’s website today to view more vehicle support services (car pickup) and, particularly, trustworthy and safe travel insurance regimes.