February 2012.

Lalibela is a place of pilgrimage for Ethiopians.

The streets are full of pilgrims from morning to night, especially during Lent.

We settle in a small hotel near the entrance, and the children rapidely make new friends.
Else, Marle, Idse and Yelte are Dutch but they speak fluent French.

They play hide and seek in the garden.

We end up spending a wonderful evening with this friendly family.

They live in Congo and came to spend a few days holiday in Ethiopia.

Matthieu was fearing to starve in Ethiopia, but the food is good and the portions are big.

Hot meals are served on small charcoal braziers. Nice idea !

Following the advice of other travelers, we spread repellent cream on our legs before visiting churches.

It seems indeed that the fleas feel like home in these old stones !

In the morning, beautiful shadows and light on the sanctuary.

Priests and monks chant all day long in this magnificent environment.

The atmosphere is somewhat magical.

The place is conducive to meditation and prayer.

Church decoration is very simple with a few geometric paintings and sculptures.

But with all the icons posters, chandeliers, carpets and cabinets, the interior of these beautiful churches is a bit messy.

This priest, before being photographed, has put on his sunglasses. Funny idea !

Churches communicate with each other through a network of passages hewn into the mountain. Kids love it.

The sanctuary consists of eleven monolithic churches.

They were carved in the rock at the turn of the twelfth and thirteenth century by King Lalibela who is buried in one of the churches.

The foundation of these churches was related to the inability for Ethiopian pilgrims to visit Jerusalem, following the capture of the city by Saladin in 1187.

Lalibela is therefore called the new Jerusalem by Ethiopians.

During the lunch break, the boys participate in a table football contest. The table is in really bad condition, but they have good fun.

Late afternoon, we admire the magnificent church dedicated to St. George.

In the bottom of a 12m deep pit, rises this incredible church with a shape of a Greek cross, true iconic masterpiece of Lalibela.

We access to it by a long trench.

A great serenity emerges from these walls.

This amazing place has really marked us: a great moment of our trip.

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