Friday, August 13, 2010

Ezana Stone

Every inch of the Ezana Stone is inscribed
Lovely inscriptions in three different languages
Posing next to the amazing Ezana Stone

Would you believe it if you were a farmer and you accidentally stumbled upon an archeological artifact buried under the land you were farming on? Well, that is exactly what happened to a couple of humble farmers in Axum about a couple of decades ago. The came across the Ezana Stone which is a significant story telling piece, outlining Ezana's conversion to Christianity and his triumph over neighboring offenders... this piece of stone is inscribed in three languages: Greek, Sabaean, and Ge'ez. It's crazy how much information this piece of marble has on it. It's pretty captivating, actually.

Journey to Axum

Walking to the plane at Lalibela Airport

Axum from the sky

Axum Yohannes IV Airport
Sculpture honoring Yohanes IV at the airport

Next stop on our trip was Axum. Here are a few pictures from Lalibela Airport, while flying, and then arriving at Axum Airport

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lalibela Epilogue - Would you dare?

The side view
Its goes on forever
Both sides are scary!
Church under the bridge

So I raved about Lalibela the other day. I loved everything about it! However, one thing about Lalibela that will forever stay in my mind is the "road to heaven" bridge-like thing made out of stone... supposedly, there is a legend in town saying that whoever has the courage to go up this narrow stone will go to heaven in the afterlife - it serves as a pathway from this life to life in heaven. It's quite scary looking at it because it is long and the depth of the fall may as well be life-threatening (and the day we went it had rained making the bridge extra, extra scary because it looked slippery like no other!).... but being in this town is so inspiring that I wouldn't be surprised if people actually get the courage to do it from time to time; and our guide said it does happen from time to time. Brace yourselves.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lalibela Part III - Bet Giyorgis

Bet Giyorgis at a distance... approaching it
Top View
Beautiful view from the top
Side view
From inside the pit/hole of the church
The entrance
Stairs to the door
Narrow road leading to the bottom of the church
Walking on the slippery road
Happy to be here!

When people say Lalibela, most of us picture the Church of St. George as being "Lalibela" when in fact every stone hewn church it is surrounded by is part of the Lalibela holy town/city. Anyway, this place is so beautiful, magical, and just awesome. It's also scary because the church is pretty deep inside the ground and made if stone making any form of recovery after a fall from above pretty impossible. Regardless, I loved this place the most from all others I have visited thus far in Ethiopia. The only thing to beware of is the fact that the stones get really slippery after it rains... and as luck would have it, the day we toured, there was a down pour of torrential rain which had us soaked to the bones and slipping left and right.

Lalibela Part II

Huts for local residents
Look how big the stones are

Beautiful crosses on the walls
Hole in the wall... looks like the mouth of the wall
More beautiful designs
Dangerous, slippery, stone
Steep, narrow, slipper roads around the churches

More pictures of Lalibela. Beautiful stone work as well as huts. Not really much to say as the pictures speak better than I do... absolutely beautiful!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lalibela Part I

Fertility pool for women. People come from all over to be baptized in this pool
High stone walls are very typical of all the churches in Lalibela
More stone walls around the churches
Crosses on the outside walls of the church to let light inside
Entrance into one of the churches and more crosses to let light in.
Tunnels taking people from one of the churches to another
View from inside the church
The first pillar of the church... cannot be unwrapped
People praying inside the church
More people praying inside the church
Priest going being the curtains inside the church

Hope you all had a great weekend. I'm enjoying my last days in Ethiopia. Getting last minute things done and trying to finish up my project... I have more pics; this time from Lalibela, which was my all time favorite place in Ethiopia that I have visited so far. There is so much culture and tradition that you can see. And I took a whole lot of pictures and so I'm forced to break it up to different parts in order to share as much as I saw... So here goes. Enjoy!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Debre Berhan Selasie Church in Gondar

Front of the church
Entrance to the church
Behind the church with beautiful flowers
More flowers with the back wall of the church

Paintings on the Wall
Angels on the Ceiling looking down
Close up of angels on the ceiling
More wall paintings

After the visit to the Emperor's pool/bath, we headed down to the Debre Berhan Selasie Church. This church is located on beautiful grounds and inside the ceiling is the most remarkable part (in my opinion) featuring many angels looking down at you. The walls of the church are covered with paintings regarding different books and stories from the bible. It is very reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Italy. It really reminded me of Michelangelo's extensive work even though the quality of art is obviously not comparable and different in style. Anyway, hope you like the photos.