Back To    Main Page | Drawings | History | Location | The Churches  | Hotels  | Synopsis | General Info             Page 6

        Drawings,  Photos and a detailed description of all Churches!   

            Second Group of Churches                                                           Go to:   First Group 
   

The original function of these complex has not yet been clarified . Two of them were certainly build  to be used as Churches, Bet Emmanuel and Bet Libanos they have a proper Church plan and are oriented to the east.  

bullet

   ST. George Church

bullet

   Bet Emmanuel

bullet

   Bet Gabriel

bullet

   Bet Mercurios

bullet

   Bet Aba Libanos

bullet

   Bet  Lehem

  

 A Secret door is leading to the 2d group of Churches!  While most guides will take you through paths over the hill, there are many under ground passages connecting all Churches !

                                      Go to Top
  Bet Emmanuel   Church                                                                              
   Art historians consider Bet Emmanuel to be the finest and most impressive Church in Lalibela!  It is the only true monolithic structure of this group carefully sculptured out of a granite block measuring 18hight,  12width and 12 meters depth!
 
The beautiful facade of this true monolithic Church
 The Church offers a classic example of Axumite style despite the fact that the floor and side plans follow the true Basilica pattern with a proper East-West orientation! 

 Entering the courtyard you will see this fascinating Church on its stepped platform shining in in the bright red colour of the Lalibela rock.  The imitation of Axumite wood and stone construction is striking, its walls built in horizontal and vertical bands, alternately recessed and projecting! It gives an impression of what a building in the ancient capital Axum might  have looked like!

 At the three entrances, in front of which the stepped platform  widens into landings, the Church has a framework of protruding beams, genuine monkey-heads are missing!

The entrance of Bet Emmanuel and the door leading to the upstairs rooms.
In the interior of the Church you will find a true Basilica plan: aisles and a vaulted nave. The strong presence of the Axumite style noting the indentations in the outside walls in which all the doors and windows are placed, reflect the internal division , as the moldings do, the number of aisles and bays, the position of the galleries and height of the large vault.

                                                                             Go to Top

     The striking interior feature is the double frieze of blind windows in the vaulted nave, the lower frieze being purely  decorative the upper one consisting of proper windows alternating with decorated areas and providing light from the upper galleries!
The under ground passage from Bet Mercurios to Bet Emmanuel Church it is wide and carefully excavated with steps, suggesting that once important people were using it !

 

                                                                                          Go to Top

          
The trap door at the end of the passage     The trap door inside the Church                  Bet Emmanuel interior
way coming from Bet Mercurios

                                                                                                      Go to Top

   Bet Gabriel    Church
ST. Gabriel Church orientation and unusual plan suggests that was originally not intended to serve as a Church.
   The Fašade of Saint Gabriel Church with the 'draw bridge' approach suggesting that it served once as a fortified Royal residence !
  The lean interior of Saint Gabriel Church.   

 

                                                                             Go to Top

    The 'draw bridge' in front of Saint Gabriel Church.
                                                                                                                                  Go to Top
  Bet Lehem  Church
   The function of this place in the past is not known! There are several suggestions that ones served as a stable for King Lalibela's horse. But as it was un approachable and most underground passage ways start from here it looks like it did serve as a 'Look out post' !
         
Bet Lehem's interior and the passage way leading to Bet Mercurios Church.        Covering against Bats!       Go to Top      

                                                                                                                                                  

    Bet Mercurios  Church
  Several legends are connected with Saint Mercurios which he stands for the Christian faith while emperor Julian for Roman empire. Saint Mercurios as a martyr professed his faith to Julian and was condemned to to be beheaded!
The part serving today as a Church occupies the Eastern end of the once huge subterranean hall which nowadays opens in a court yard. 
 The naked walls of Bet Mercurios can hardly give an idea of what they have looked like when they were still covered with rich paintings that once adorned the Church.  These were paintings of cotton fabrics attached to the walls by thick 'Loam' a mixture of Oxen blood and straw. 

 

                                                                         Go to Top

 17 century 'silk print'
 Nowadays for their preservation they have been moved and can be seen in the National Museum in Addis Ababa.  They were likely painted in Gondar, the capital of the Ethiopian empire from 17 to 19 century.                                                               

 

 

                                                                          Go to Top

         
   The Priest is showing Bet Mercurios Cross      &