Lalibela, a town in northern Ethiopia, is famous around the world for its monolithic rock-cut churches carved from the living rock, which play an important part in the history of rock-cut architecture.
The town is one of Ethiopia’s holiest cities, second only to Aksum, and is a center of pilgrimage for much of the country.
The Bete Giyorgis, or Church of St. George, is one of 11 monolithic churches in the city. Carved from solid red volcanic rock in the 12th century, it is the best known and last built of the 11 churches in the Lalibela area, and has been referred to as “the eighth wonder of the world.”
Lalibela, the king of Ethiopia who the city was named after, sought to recreate Jerusalem, and structured the churches’ landscape and religious sites to that end.