Entering into the rock hewn churchs in Lalibela, Ethiopia was like stepping back in time. Dimly lit by the sunlight, the churches were hewn out caves. Brightly painted religious scenes decorated the ceilings and walls and inside nearly every church was a priest. Most simply ignored us, but a few entrepreneurial types pulled out crosses and religious treasures to show us. This of course had it’s fee, which they were more than happy to collect.
Ethiopians practice a distinct form of Christianity. Early adopters of Christianity, it is believed Ethiopia became a Christian nation sometime around 340 AD. As Islam great in the seventh century, Ethiopia was in effect isolated from the rest of the Christian world, giving it today a very distinct form of Orthodox Christianity. Lalibela is home to several monolithic churches, and is considered a pilgrimage site for Ethiopians. Local clergy believe the layout of the churches to be a symbolic representation of Jerusalem, adding to its religious holiness.
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