Bet Abba Libanos

Monday, January 05, 2015
Lalibela, Amhara, Ethiopia
Bet Abba Libanos is hewn into a rock face and is unique among Lalibela's churches in that it’s a hypogeous church. In English, that means only the roof and floor remain attached to the strata. Like Bet Amanuel, many of its architectural features, such as the friezes, are Aksumite. Curiously, although it looks large from the outside, the interior is actually very small. The carved corners of its cubic capitals are unique; some guides say they may represent angel eyes. Legend says it was constructed in a single night by Lalibela’s wife, Meskel Kebra, with a little help from angels.

Hearing the sounds coming from the inside Bet Abba Libanos (12) we hastily clambered inside to find this group of local women chanting to Virgin Mary and praising God.

Yes, we had to go inside the tiny church itself but to me it was the women just outside singing with their drums in what was a marvellous sound chamber whom I will remember. What a marvellous and truly memorable way to finish the tour of the rock churches of Lalibela.

Most decided to walk back to Lalibela Lodge but Henry, Michael and myself walked down to where the Coaster came and collected us.

Back at Lalibela Lodge the staff put on for us a BBQUE with lamb as the main feature for 200 birr / NZ$ 13.30 / US$ 9.80 plus 2 cokes 36 birr / NZ$2.40 / US$1.80.

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