Lalibela is a town in northern Ethiopia famous for monolithic rock-cut churches. Lalibela is one of Ethiopia’s holiest cities, second only to Aksum, and a center of pilgrimage. Unlike Aksum, the population of Lalibela is almost completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. Ethiopia is one of the earliest nations to adopt Christianity in the first half of the fourth century, and its historical roots date to the time of the Apostles.
The layout and names of the major buildings in Lalibela are widely accepted, especially by local clergy, to be a symbolic representation of Jerusalem. This has led some experts to date the current church forms to the years following the capture of Jerusalem in 1187 by Muslim leader, Saladin.
Lalibela is located in the Semien Wollo Zone of the Amhara ethnic division (or kilil), at roughly 2,500 meters above sea level. It is the main town in Lasta woreda, which was formerly part of Bugna woreda.0