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Touring the Northern Countryside of Lalibela

Lalibela is a beautiful part of the northern Ethiopia, and is a very popular tourist destination. It is rich in history, and is a wonderful place to tour. The city is considered to be one of the holiest cities in Ethiopia. For much of the country, it is the center of pilgrimage. Most of the population in the region is of Ethiopian Orthodox Christian belief.

Lalibela was once known as Roha. During the birth of the saintly king, a host of bees surrounded him. His mother saw it as a sign of his future reign as an emperor.  Within the modern town, several places are named mimicking patterns observed at that time.

The community of Lalibela had seen Jerusalem, and desired to create and build a New Jerusalem around 1187. Many features within the area have biblical names. For example, the town’s river is Jordan River. Lalibela remained the capital of Ethiopia for some time.

Beautiful sites of rock-hewn churches are seen in Lalibela. It is part of the breathtaking view of existing culture during that time. This sight alone makes this tourist area, popular from around the world. Most of the churches carved from the living rocks during this time, around the 12th and 13th centuries. There are approximately 13 churches in the area.

It is believed the first European to see the churches was a Portuguese explorer named Pero da Covilha - Also, Francisco Alvares visited in the early 1500s. It is also believed that Miguel de Castanhoso visited Lalibela’s stone-hewn churches. After this time, it was nearly 300 years before another European visited the area.

Lalibela also homes a large market place, a hospital, as well as school. It has an airport within the city as well. Recent figures suggest that the population of Lalibela is estimated around 15,000. 

Lalibela’s view is breath taking, and its history is so rich and vivid. If you have not seen the area, then you are missing out on one of the most exciting views in northern Ethiopia.