Into the Coaster and up and away on the 8 km dusty switch back road up to near the top of Abuna Yoseph the high mountain towering above Lalibela and Asheten Mariam Monastery.
This 13th century monastery is ruggedly carved out of a cleft and built on a ridge with a near 360 degree view giving an excellent outlook over the surrounding countryside far below. It is claimed that King Lalibela's original plan was to build the rock hewn churches in Asheten Maryam.
Hugging the cliff and through a cooling tunnel, it was a short 30 minute walk up to the Monastery itself.
We were the only foreign tourists there, so different to the morning down at Lalibela, The Gondar trained priest proudly brought out C13th hand and processional crosses of king Na’akutola’ab who ruled Ethiopia for 40 years just after king Lalibela and other treasures. The thumb / finger prints are that of the priest who have been charged with looking after these treasures.
Time for those landscape photos then back down through the tunnel, along the path besides the blue gums to the souvenir sellers and our awaiting Coaster.
Asheten Mariam Monastery
Sunday, January 04, 2015
Lalibela, Amhara, Ethiopia