Ethiopia: Bedrock Of Art And Faith
Lalibela, Ethiopia – ON the roads through EthiopiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s highlands traffic raises a brick-red haze that coats your clothes, powders your skin and starts a creaking in your lungs. Despite the dust people wear white. Farmers wrap themselves in bleached cotton. Village funerals look like fields of snow. At churches and shrines white is the pilgrimÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s color.
I wear it too, protectively: long-sleeved white shirt, tennis cap, Neutrogena sun block. A pilgrim? Why not?
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m here for something IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve longed to see, EthiopiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s holy cities: Aksum, the spiritual home of this east African countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Orthodox Christian faith and, especially, the mountain town of Lalibela, with its cluster of 13th-century churches some 200 miles to the south.
Lalibela was conceived as a paradise on earth. And its 11 churches, cut from living volcanic rock, are literally anchored in the earth. In scale, number, and variety of form thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no architecture or sculpture quite like them anywhere. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re on the global tourist route now, though barely. To Ethiopian devotees theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been spiritual lodestars for eight centuries, and continue to be. Read full story – New York Times.