Ashetan Maryam

Top choice in Lalibela

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 Lalibela, it’s the extraordinary mountain scenery for which you really come. The five-hour climb (one way) from Lalibela is quite steep; it's a 30-minute climb from the car park.

The monastery’s construction is believed to span Lalibela’s and Na’akuto La’ab’s reigns, although local tradition claims it as King Lalibela's first attempt at church construction. Church treasures include parchment and some icons. The most important local festival here takes place on 12 September.

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