France sends heritage experts to Ethiopia

The Government of France has sent heritage protection experts to assess the condition of Ethiopia’s UNESCO registered Lalibela Rock-hewn Churches and save from collapsing.

The three experts are sent following the promise made by the French President Emmanuel Macron, to help Ethiopia to save its Rock-hewn Churches of Lalibela, which is showing cracks. President Macron made the promise to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia when he visited Paris a few months ago.

In the coming three days the heritage experts will visit Lalibela to see the condition of the Churches at risk of collapsing.

Earlier the experts have received related documents in relation to the Rock-hewn Churches of Lalibela, according to the report of state broadcaster, ETV. The Rock-hewn Churches of Lalibela are found in a mountainous region in the heart of Ethiopia, some 645 km from Addis Ababa.

The eleven medieval monolithic churches were carved out of rock, according to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Their building is attributed to King Lalibela who set out to construct in the 12th century a ‘New Jerusalem’, after Muslim conquests halted Christian pilgrimages to the holy Land.

The churches were not constructed in a traditional way but rather were hewn from the living rock of monolithic blocks. These blocks were further chiselled out, forming doors, windows, columns, various floors, roofs etc.

This gigantic work was further completed with an extensive system of drainage ditches, trenches and ceremonial passages, some with openings to hermit caves and catacombs.