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 churches and relief-carved crosses proliferate in Bet Mikael. The entrance leads first to Bet Mikael and then to Bet Golgotha, which women can’t enter.

Bet Golgotha is known for containing some of the best early examples of Ethiopian Christian art, including some amazing life-size depictions of the 12 apostles carved into the walls’ niches. Four are visible, with the other eight behind the curtains in the off-limits Selassie Chapel, one of Lalibela’s holiest sanctuaries and home to more fantastic art and also the reputed tomb of King Lalibela himself.

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Nearby Lalibela attractions

1. Tomb of Adam

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The symbolic Tomb of Adam is a giant, hollowed-out block of stone next to Bet Uraiel.

2. Bet Uraiel

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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…

3. Bet Maryam

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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…

4. Bet Meskel

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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…

5. Bet Danaghel

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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…

6. Museum

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Downstairs at the ticket office, the uninspired museum displays the usual church items. It's an obligatory stop, but any time spent here is merely…

7. Bet Medhane Alem

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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…

8. Bet Giyorgis

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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…