Africa’s Jerusalem

After our morning journey to Yemrehanna Kristos , we make it back to Lalibela in time to find a place to eat before seeing the final set of the rock hewn churches in the southeast cluster. As we are walking up the path with Shambel, he tells us that the area we are about to enter is called Africa’s Jerusalem.

As we approach Bet Gebriel-Rafael, we pass Ethiopia’s river Jordan, and a solitary olive tree at the entrance. A woman is worshipping at the tree’s base as we silently walk by.

Bet Gebriel is surrounded by a deep trench, and rickety wooden walkway must be crossed to gain entrance.

Shambel lets us know that all of these churches are interconnected by tunnels, and that we will be in total darkness for a few metres while walking from one to the other. You can not help but walk with faith, as your eyes fail. We emerge from the Tomb of Adam, and see the twelve metre high monolith known as Bet Emanuel.

The priests inside these great churches are humble and accommodating as I try to capture their spirituality.

The final area for us is Bet Golgotha and the Selassie Chapel, considered the holiest place in Lalibela. Visitors have never been permitted to enter it.

As our tour comes to an end, I capture perhaps my favourite image of this experience. To me, it encapsulates everything spiritual and magical about this land and people.

Enjoy the final journey of my time in Lalibela, Ethiopia. Africa.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?