The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Wednesday, December 8, 2021


Lalibela: Ethiopia's UNESCO heritage site overrun by rebels
In this file photograph taken on March 7, 2019, Ethiopian Orthodox devotees walk between the rock-hewn churchs of Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael in Lalibela. Rebels from Ethiopia's war-hit region of Tigray swept into Lalibela on August 5, 2021, raising fears for the safety of the UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for its 12th-century rock-hewn churches. The push by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) into the regions of Afar and Amhara -- where Lalibela is located -- is the latest turn in a months-long conflict pitting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed against the rebels. EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP.



ADDIS ABABA (AFP).- Rebels from Ethiopia's war-hit region of Tigray swept into Lalibela on Thursday, raising fears for the safety of the UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for its 12th-century rock-hewn churches.

The push by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) into the regions of Afar and Amhara -- where Lalibela is located -- is the latest turn in a months-long conflict pitting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed against the rebels.

As concern over the violence grows and calls mount to protect Lalibela, here are a few facts about the heritage site:

Underground churches

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978, the Lalibela churches are unique. They are carved from rock and sit below ground level, surrounded by deep, dry moats, with only their roofs visible.

The courtyards surrounding these extraordinary places of worship are reachable only by staircases and tunnels.

Chiselled out of monolithic blocks, the churches are replete with ornate designs and windows carved in the shape of crosses.

The complex is also home to an intricate system of passages, some of which lead to caves and catacombs.

Built by angels

Lalibela, located 680 kilometres (420 miles) north of Addis Ababa, takes its name from King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela.

According to local lore, the monarch built 11 churches with the help of angels after God ordered him to create a "New Jerusalem."




Lalibela is a popular destination for foreign tourists and followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox faith -- the country's largest religion.

Threats

Lalibela is no stranger to threats. Long before the site was caught in the crosshairs of the Tigray conflict, its rock composition made it vulnerable to the impact of erosion from Ethiopia's intense rainy season.

A 2008 decision to erect huge tarpaulin shields to keep rain off the historic churches has aroused further concern among the faithful, with many fearing that the shelters could collapse and cause irreparable damage to the site.

Preservationists say the screens, supported by thick metal poles, are designed to sway rather than strain to breaking point in windy weather, but that has done little to ease locals' worries.

Restoration plans

In 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron visited Lalibela and agreed to fund a plan to restore the churches as well as maintain the tarpaulin screens until a more permanent restoration is carried out on damaged structures.

This could pave the way for the shelters' replacement with lighter structures, possibly ones that can open and close depending on the weather, while repairs are done.

Stolen cross

Lalibela was the focus of a massive manhunt two decades ago, when a 11th-century brass cross known as Afro Ayigeba was stolen from the site, sparking fury among Ethiopians who have a deep attachment to the artifact.

After a two-year search that spanned multiple continents, the sacred cross was finally found. It had wound up in the hands of a Belgian collector, who had bought it in good faith for $25,000 from an Addis Ababa dealer.

Weeks later, it was returned to its rightful place in Lalibela, with thousands of pilgrims, villagers and officials attending its homecoming ceremony.

© Agence France-Presse










Today's News

August 7, 2021

Final days of the exhibition "Keith Haring Posters" at the Tampere Talo, Finland

National Gallery of Australia opens an exhibition of recent work by Sarah Lucas

Hamburger Kunsthalle receives gift of David Novros' largest portable mural

Philadelphia Museum of Art displays Thomas Cole masterpiece "The Arch of Nero" in American Galleries

Phillips opens the Southampton exhibition 'Abstract by Nature: Paintings from the 1950s to the Present'

Dutch dike threatens muddy Roman ruins

Djibouti's hidden rock art offers window to the past

Lalibela: Ethiopia's UNESCO heritage site overrun by rebels

Galerie Scheffel opens an exhibition of works by Israeli artist Arik Levy

In Sweden, a patriarchal 'remnant' jars with image of equality

Bonhams achieves outstanding results in two-day series of Western & California Art sales

Exhibition of new works by Brazilian artist Alexandre da Cunha opens at Brighton CCA

Push to return 116,000 Native American remains is long-awaited

Patricia Wilde, ballerina showcased by Balanchine, dies at 93

Steidl announces U.S. release of 'Property Rights' by Mitch Epstein

Fine minerals from China to shimmer in spotlight at Heritage Auctions

Herbert Schlosser, a force behind 'SNL' and 'Laugh-In,' dies at 95

Missoula Art Museum exhibits new works by Anne Appleby

'Bix' review: A jazz legend fondly remembered

'The Threepenny Opera,' without the 'Cabaret' clichés

Speed Art Museum opens new exhibition: Ralph Eugene Meatyard's "The Unforeseen Wilderness"

'The Future Isn't What It Used To Be' by Esiri Erheriene-Essi opens at Maruani Mercier

Pavlov's Dog opens 'Luzia Simons & Anton Hofreiter: Watching Flowers'

Tel Aviv Museum of Art opens a solo exhibition of photography by Aenne Biermann

Electric Bike Riding Tips For Seniors

4 reasons to start painting your first masterpiece

3 Tips for Promoting your Own Art Exhibition

Pangea Localization Services




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful