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Aerial view of Beta Giyorgis church cut out of bedrock. Lalibela, Ethiopia, ©James P Blair

Aerial view of Beta Giyorgis church cut out of bedrock. Lalibela, Ethiopia, ©James P Blair

Lalibela, Ethiopia is known around the world for its churches carved from the living rock. Though the dating of these eleven churches is not well established, most are thought to have been built from the 12th through 14th centuries. How were people, more than 700 to 900 years ago, able to carve 11 monolithic churches out of living rock with only the primitive hammers and chisels available to them?

Lalibela, Ethiopia is known around the world for its churches carved from the living rock. Though the dating of these eleven churches is not well established, most are thought to have been built from the 12th through 14th centuries. How were people, more than 700 to 900 years ago, able to carve 11 monolithic churches out of living rock with only the primitive hammers and chisels available to them?

P.A.W.G. Nation© : Photo

P.A.W.G. Nation© : Photo

Jessica Drake

Jessica Drake