Top ChoiceChurch in Lalibela

Bet Giyorgis

Bet Giyorgis

When you think of Lalibela, you're thinking of Bet Giyorgis. Resting off on its own, St George’s Church is Lalibela’s masterpiece. Representing the apogee of the rock-hewn tradition, it's the most visually...

Top ChoiceChurch in Lalibela

Yemrehanna Kristos

Despite Yemrehanna Kristos being one of Ethiopia’s best-preserved late-Aksumite buildings, few people reward themselves with a visit. And a reward it is. The church is different because it’s built rather than...

Top ChoiceChurch in Lalibela

Bet Maryam

Connected to Bet Medhane Alem by a tunnel is a large courtyard containing three churches. The first, Bet Maryam, is small, yet designed and decorated to an exceptionally high standard. It’s also the only church...

Top ChoiceChurch in Lalibela

Bet Medhane Alem

Bet Medhane Alem

Resembling a massive Greek temple more than a traditional Ethiopian church, Bet Medhane Alem is impressive for its size and majesty. Said to be the largest rock-hewn church in the world, it measures 33.5m by...

Top ChoiceChurch in Lalibela

Bet Amanuel

Bet Amanuel

Free-standing and monolithic, Bet Amanuel is Lalibela’s most finely carved church. Some have suggested it was the royal family’s private chapel. It perfectly replicates the style of Aksumite buildings, with its...

Top ChoiceMonastery in Lalibela

Ashetan Maryam

Set at 3150m, atop Abune Yosef mountain, is this monastery where the local priests believe they’re ‘closer to heaven and God’, and it’s easy to see why. Although the architecture here compares pretty poorly with...

Top ChoiceChurch in Lalibela

Mekina Medane Alem

Two to three hours’ walk from Geneta Maryam and six hours’ walk from Lalibela, this remote church was, according to Ethiopian tradition, constructed by three virgins during the reign of King Gebre Meskel in AD...

Church in Lalibela

Bet Merkorios

Bet Merkorios

Reached via a series of trenches and tunnels (one is long, narrow and pitch-black) that starts from Bet Gabriel-Rufael, this church may have started as something altogether different. The discovery of ankle...

Church in Lalibela

Bet Gabriel-Rufael

Its entrance flanked by a sloping sliver of rock known as the ‘Way to Heaven’, this imposing twin-church marks the main entrance to the southeastern group. Unlike most Lalibela churches its entrance is at the top...

Church in Lalibela

Bet Golgotha & Bet Mikael

A trench at the southern end of the Bet Maryam courtyard connects it to the twin churches of Bet Golgotha and Bet Mikael (also known as Bet Debre Sina). The pair have the only cruciform pillars of Lalibela’s...

Church in Lalibela

Geneta Maryam

Geneta Maryam is thought to have been built around 1270 by Yekuno Amlak, who restored the Solomonic line. With its rectangular shape and 20 massive rectangular pillars that support it, Geneta Maryam resembles...

Church in Lalibela

Bilbila Giyorgis

Lying west of Arbatu Ensessa, around 32km from Lalibela, Bilbila Giyorgis is attributed to King Kaleb. It resembles Bet Abba Libanos in design. According to tradition, five swarms of bees took up residence...

Church in Lalibela

Bet Abba Libanos

Hewn into a rock face, Bet Abba Libanos is unique among Lalibela’s churches because only the roof and floor remain attached to the strata. Many of its architectural features, such as the friezes, are Aksumite....

Church in Lalibela

Na’akuto La‘ab

Lying 7km from Lalibela, just off the airport road, is this simple but attractive church (apart from the outer security wall). It’s attributed to King Lalibela’s successor and shelters in a natural cave. It was...

Museum in Lalibela

Lalibela Cultural Center

This excellent new museum has beautifully presented displays about Lalibela’s history, both past and present. The exhibits range from cultural artefacts to ancient manuscripts and other archaeological finds from...

Church in Lalibela

Arbatu Ensessa

On the way to Yemrehanna Kristos, around 35km from Lalibela, is this three-quarter monolith church in a wild, overgrown but rather beautiful setting. It’s thought to have been built by King Kaleb in AD 518....

Chapel in Lalibela

Bet Danaghel

To the south of the Bet Maryam courtyard is the pleasingly primitive and grotto-like chapel of Bet Danaghel (House of the Virgins), said to have been constructed in memory of the maiden nuns martyred on the...

Church in Lalibela

Bet Uraiel

In the trench fronting the western facade of Bet Golgotha, past the symbolic Tomb of Adam (a giant, hollowed-out block of stone), Bet Uraiel opened as a church in 1998 in what may have been a storeroom. Its...

Church in Lalibela

Bilbila Chirkos

Near Arbatu Ensessa, 41km off the Yemrehanna Kristos road, this is an interesting three-quarter monolith known particularly for its ancient frescoes. Attributed to King Kaleb, it’s thought to date from AD 523....

Chapel in Lalibela

Bet Meskel

Carved into the courtyard’s northern wall at Bet Maryam is the tiny semi-chapel of Bet Meskel. Four pillars divide the gallery into two aisles spanned by arcades.