Bet Giyorgis

sights / Religious

Bet Giyorgis information

Lonely Planet review

Resting off on its own, St George’s Church is Lalibela’s masterpiece. Representing the apogee of the rock-hewn tradition, the Bet Giyorgis is the most visually perfect church of all, a 15m-high three-tiered plinth in the shape of a Greek cross; a shape that required no internal pillars. Due to its exceptional preservation, it also lacks the obtrusive roofing seen over the other churches.

Inside, light flows in from the windows and illuminates the ceiling’s large crosses: beauty in simplicity. Peer over the curtain to see the maqdas’ beautiful dome. There are also two 800-year-old olive-wood boxes (one with opposing corkscrew keys) that locals believe were carved by King Lalibela himself and now hold the church’s treasures. Some of the cavities in the walls surrounding the church hold mummified corpses.