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             The Legend                                                


 The present day Lalibela in the old days use to be the kingdom of Roha and was the base of the Zagwe dynasty. According to the local legend, when the prince was only a baby, a swarm of bees circled him without harming him so his mother the Queen, was amazed and thought this was a sign that he is going to be a person of religious importance, so she called him lal-I-be-la in their language ‘the bees recognized his might’ The prince grew up in a religious way and was in avertedly envied by his older brother who became King and ordered to poison him.

  The legend goes that he withdrew in to the wilderness and got a wife named Meskal Kebra and while he continue to live a monastic life angels took him to Jerusalem… His brother the king was persuaded by Jesus Christ himself to abdicate in favor of Lalibela which he came back and with the help of angels build the marvelous 12 rock hewn Churches.


   However, according to legend, before the throne of Ethiopia was restored to its rightful rulers, upon command of God and with the help of Angels, Lalibela's wish to convert the royal residence of the Zagwe in the town of Roha to this magnificent 11 Churches, come true !
The Ethiopian Church later canonized him and changed the name of Roha to Lalibela.

   The charming Ethiopian folklore pictures telling the story of king Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and give a popular version of how, the dynasty of ancient Axum and also the medieval Zagwe descended from King Solomon !


   Queen of Sheba gave birth to Menelik, who became the first king of Ethiopia, but her maid also too gave birth to a son whose father was king Solomon !  This son was the ancestor of the Zagwe dynasty !    The folklore paintings include a lovely picture of the two women sitting side by side, their babies on their laps, the Queen in her royal gawn and her maid in Tigray costume.


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