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“Lives up to high expectations”

Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela
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$570.00*
and up
2 Day Tour to the Rock Hewn Churches of Lalibela from Addis Ababa
Ranked #1 of 26 things to do in Lalibela
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: A labyrinth of tunnels with grottoes and galleries connects 11 impressive churches built under King Lalibela out of red volcanic rock.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

This place really does live up to ones expectations - the churches are in two main groups, with the single most famous church Bet Giorgis isolated by itself. This church is the only one not covered by a protective canopy, making it the best photo opportunity, and indeed the skill of its workmanship justifies its fame.

Of the other two church groups, the NW group is the most interesting, particularly Bet Maryam. This church is a cave church inside a cube of rock that has itself been hewn from the living rock - amazing feat of workmanship. Inside it is lavishly decorated in carved and painted relief.

The SE group of church is a little more mixed, but again there is one church hewn out in the same fashion as Bet Maryam, and with even more pseudo-architectural detailing carved into the stone inside and out (I can't remember its name). This was said to be the private chapel of the king. Wonderfully atmospheric inside, with the red light filtering in.

Thank Bielding
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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755 - 759 of 1,419 reviews

Reviewed July 11, 2013

Carved out of the rock in one piece (some as a free standing monoliths, others partilly attached to thei mother-rock) the churches are nothing less than astounding, Walking the maze of tunnels and rock-trenches between and around churches- and in the dimly-lit interiors of the churches themselves is an eerie experience.
There are a number of petty irritants, that mar the picture: the local guides that come in highly variable quality are one.. The one I had the bad luck to hire was definitely not good in any respect. Others I trailed later (see below) were of varying quality. Taking a guide for one round to get acquainted with the layout - and returning to the compound later on a solitary round, to savour the highlights, and to trail other guides, as they come with their groups in tow, was a solution that suited me well.
Other irritants, such as the hideous low-energy lighting (with some luck one may get the priests to switch some off) and the (UNESCO-funded appalling protective roofing, simply have to be lived with.

Thank Yoc11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2013

Wonderful day spent at all the churches. There are also UNESCO world heritage Tukul houses opposite where St George's church is located. The loo at the museum is very clean btw.

1  Thank sari_kiz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2013

Fabulous stunning ah how did they do it ? We did this one at the end of the morning church viewing session.

Thank sari_kiz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2013

In principle, the churches are surely a nice place to visit. However, by now the entrance fee has risen to 50 US $ and they already announced that next year it probably will be 100 dollars. That's definitely way too much and not worth the price. Even worse, the priests themselves push for high entrance fees and earn a big part of the money. So the fascination of the churches used to be that they are still a vivid religious center, but by now much of the religion there has become show for the tourists and a big business for the owners.

Ethiopia has so much more to offer and since the place is rather difficult to access, we would recommend to skip Lalibela, especially if you are short in time. Moreover, by this you do not support the greedy priests.

5  Thank Thomas P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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