Solid Rock: The amazing 900-year-old churches of Lalibela

Solid Rock: The amazing 900-year-old churches of Lalibela
Protected: In 1978 the churches became a UNESCO World Heritage site, and five years ago protective awnings were set up to slow down corrosion

Peter may have built his church upon a rock, but the ruling king in 12th century Ethiopia decided to build his churches into the rocks themselves.

During his reign 900 years ago, King Lalibela commissioned the building of a set of churches to form a ‘New Jerusalem.’

All 11 churches are still standing today in a rural Northern Ethiopian town named after the same King.

What’s so unique about these structures though is that they were carved into a solid piece of rock. The inside and outside of the churches were built into the ground on stretches of volcanic tuff rock. Workers would start at the top and carve down creating the roof and walls of the church.Then they would hollow it out to create the interior structure.

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