Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Lalibela, Ethiopia - running out of pseudo-ephedrine fast...

i should do a little more research but i still haven't figured out why the churches of Lalibela were built underground. perhaps to hide from invading armies of heathens? there are examples of similar christians hiding techniques, like the christians of Byzantium hiding from the Romans by building underground cities on the Anatolian plateau. the practicalities of defending these churches defy logic though. this is set of pics i took of my favourite church in Lalibela, Bet Giyorgis or St George's Church.

the books describe the church as having a height of 15 m.

Story has it that St. George was pissed off when he found out that none of the Lalibela churches were dedicated to him. He brought up the matter with the king and the finest church was built for him.

Bet Giyorgis was built in isolation, separated from the other clusters in town.

the congregation piling outta Bet Giyorgis...perhaps in an attempt to "beat the traffic"?

this is inside the trench. i like this photo.

I feel like shit. I think I caught a chill last night at the sleepover. Damn it.

It's time to move on though. I'm not quite sure of where to go next. As usual, the logistics of even getting out of Lalibela is somewhat warped. Just to make it easier, we've moved to a hotel closer to the bus station/main road.

I'll decide my fate tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope my head doesn't pop open because my stuffed up sinuses.

I met with the Spanish boys over lunch. They spent 3 days in the Simiens. Incredibly beautiful they said. Watch out for the park staff who tried to pack on extra unnecessary days onto the itinerary. Check. Mmm...someone trying to rip off a farangi? There's news... Weather was good.

From Lalibela, the boys head back down to Addis.

Out of Canuckistan: A travel blog, Apr 8/07
Buy Bubba a Beer Now!


Steve H. said...

Very cool place to visit! I'd love to go there...

However, stand by for nerdy historical correction. The Christians of Byzantium weren't hiding from Romans. They were Romans. The Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire before his death in 337 AD. "Byzantium" is really just a modern word applied to what was in reality the eastern half of the Roman Empire (the western half fell to invaders in the 5th century, the eastern half lasted until 1453). The underground cities of Anatolia were built for residents to hide from Arab Muslim raids and invasions, which mostly took place between the 7th and 9th centuries.

Similiar story in Ethiopia, which was converted to Christianity by Roman missionaries. Churches carved into rock are harder for invaders to tear down.

Hey, I knew my degree had to be good for something! Correcting bloggers!

bubba said...

ha! i knew steve h. was lurking. my revisionist history stands corrected, partially... question now is why didn't the egyptians build reverse pyramids?

bubba said...

ya know... little strip mine pyramids...

Steve H. said...

Maybe they did. Time to organize an expedition, Bubba. Find the pyramid quarry!

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