The next morning we left on the first part of our trip to Lalibela which took us North to the Eritrean border o the town of Mekele. En route we stopped at the largely unvisited by tourists spot to the burial place of the wife of the Prophet Mohammed, to Mekele, one of the towns closest to the Eritrean border where up until recently planes have periodically dropped bombs on the inhabitants. We also get our first taste of a rock-hewn church, Wukro Chirkos.
Heading East to Adigrat there was so much evidence of the war which has plagued the people and the area between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
One of the most unexpected places we stumbled onto was a mosque containing the graves of some 12 people believed to have travelled to Ethiopia from Saudi Arabia after the death of the Prophet Mohammed. One of the graves is said to belong to his wife. We were very lucky to be able to see the graves up close, a privilege which had we been in Saudi Arabia would have been reserved only for Muslims.
I am startng to get a complex about the number of photos Andy takes of me standing near cows, I wonder if he is trying to tell me something??? ;)
A short walk from the town of Wukro we saw our first (of many) rock hewn churches. Wukro Chirkos is situated on a hill and is carved entirely from a SINGLE piece of rock and is about 1500 years old.
Words cannot describe the feeling of being inside this giant monolith carved so expertly at a time when Europe was in the Dark Ages. There is a stillness and monumental sense of history when one enters a church such as this, we were so blown away by its epicness, but had no idea what awaited us in Lalibela ( still to come in Part 4)
Some of the many ‘templar’ crosses dotted across churches in this region. The presence of these crosses has led many to believe that the Knights Templar played a part in the construction of many of these rock-hewn churches.
Gratuitous Landy shot :)
The road from Makele to Woldia. The final stretch before we make our way to the rock hewn churches of Lalibela.
We passed through some of the areas worst affected by the famine. The dry river beds serve only as a cattle highway.