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 Lalibela’s Bet Medhane Alem. It’s also known for its remarkable 13th-century paintings, though most are very faded. There’s a moon-shaped face of Christ on the western wall. Whoever built the hideous protective roof over it should be ashamed.

It’s about five hours by foot from Lalibela, or 1½ hours by vehicle.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lalibela attractions

1. 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…

2. Ashetan Maryam

2.37 MILES

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…

3. Lalibela Cultural Center

3.47 MILES

This excellent new museum has beautifully presented displays about Lalibela’s history, both past and present. The exhibits range from cultural artefacts…

4. Bet Abba Libanos

3.58 MILES

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…

5. Bet Gabriel-Rufael

3.59 MILES

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…

6. 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…

7. Bet Amanuel

3.61 MILES

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…

8. 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…