Sacred Africa

This article on the Ethiopian rock-cut churches in Lalibela ran in Budget Travel. It’s archived below.

November 2007
Sacred Africa
Nearly eight centuries ago, 11 churches were carved into the Ethiopian earth. You don’t have to be a believer to be intrigued by their mystery or awed by their majesty.

By Stephan Faris

The pageant overfills the dusty road. Under the hot African sun, a knot of clergy in maroon, peach, and royal blue robes raises parasols and brass crosses. When the parade pauses, a cleric wipes the foreheads of two high priests, wrapped in velvet and balancing replicas of the tablets of Moses on their heads. A loudspeaker pulses a tenor’s chant, and 20 men form two lines for a swaying dance to the jangle of handheld brass rattles.

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