Ethiopia

The Churches of Lalibela

Feb
23

Lalibela is a town in northern Ethiopia that is famous for its monolithic rock-cut churches. Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest cities, second only to Aksum, and is a center of pilgrimage for much of the country. Unlike Aksum, the population of Lalibela is almost completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. The layout and names of the major buildings in Lalibela are widely accepted, especially by the local clergy, to be a symbolic representation of Jerusalem. This has led some experts to date the current form of its churches to the years following the capture of Jerusalem in 1187 by the Muslim soldier Saladin.<--break->

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Gondar - Fasil Ghebbi

Feb
02

The origins of the Fasil Ghebbi can be found in the old tradition of the Ethiopian Emperors to travel around their possessions, living off the produce of the peasants and dwelling in tents. Reflecting this connection, this precinct was frequently referred to as a katama("camp" or "fortified settlement"), or makkababya the same name applied to the imperial camp in the Royal Chronicle of Baeda Maryam. Emperor Fasilides broke with this tradition of progressing through the territories, and founded the city of Gondar as his capital; its relative permanence makes the city historically important. Within the capital, he commanded the construction of an imposing edifice, the Fasil Gemb or Fasilides castle. The area around the Fasil Gemb was delineated by a wall with numerous gates. Subsequent Emperors built their own structures, many of which survive either in whole or part today. Visiting the Fasil Ghebbi in the late 1950s,Thomas Pakenham observed that "dotted among the palaces are what remains of the pavilions and kiosks of the imperial city".

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