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The lodging alone — two nights at the Mountain View Hotel, with breathtaking views of the Lasta Mountains — would have cost me 0 booked separately. Not having to use mental bandwidth fretting about transportation, especially when traveling alone, is invaluable. When I complained, he shrugged: “The hotel changed,” he said. “King Lalibela wanted to construct these churches because Ethiopian Orthodox Christians wanted to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to see the birthplace of Jesus Christ.” But many were unable to make or perished during the journey.
I insisted and showed him my email from Ethio Tours — he relented and we continued on. Mareg Asmro, an affable young man who aspires to study in China someday, educated me about the history of the city as we walked toward the first of the group of 11 monolithic churches cut directly into the earth — gigantic structures hewed from single blocks of rock. When King Lalibela saw that, he envisioned a New Jerusalem to which the faithful could make the pilgrimage.
Some were larger than others; each had a priest who would go from time to time behind a giant curtain hung within each church. Asmro explained in a hushed tone — replicas of the ark of the covenant that only the priests were allowed to view.
They were all impressive, but none quite as markedly so as the final church, Bete Giyorgis (Church of St.
The monastery, while not particularly active, was still beautiful, carved into the side of the hill and accessible via a narrow path. Asmro 500 birr for the two days we were together — a little less than .
While the churches are Lalibela’s biggest attraction, they weren’t its only appeal: I also had to eat.
They generally have fair skin and have a distinguishable phenotype that separates them from their neighbors.: The following paragraph and pictures below are about mixed Eritreans.
We began with Bete Medhane Alem (Savior of the World), considered to be the largest monolith church on earth.
(Retain your boarding pass to prove you entered the country on Ethiopian to receive the discount, or get the discount online.) Not only that, it saved me an arduous bus journey from Addis Ababa that would have taken an entire day, possibly longer given the rainy weather.
I usually eschew tours, but I found a deal from Ethio Travel Tours that was just too good to pass up: two nights in Lalibela, a tour guide for two days, entrance to the churches (1,164 birr, if you buy separately), and ground transportation — all for just 0. After a gorgeous, winding drive from the airport, snaking through the Amhara region, the driver dropped me off and unloaded my bag in front of a shabby-looking hotel that was not the agreed-upon Mountain View Hotel.
It can be entered like the others, and requires a downhill trek into what feels like the jaws of the earth to reach the front entrance.
Our final stop, on the outskirts of Lalibela, was the Asheton Maryam Monastery, which we reached after a 20-minute car ride.
Preparing for an Ethiopian adventure requires planning and a certain amount of patience — and, in my case, the use of a handy loophole to deal with the sky-high airfares some visitors to Africa face.