This place is more or less Mecca for the local Christian population. When you are walking to the Churches you will pass through these mud huts that the locals live in. For me it was almost as much fun walking through here as it was going to the Churches.
Though it's not a remarkable market (compared to Merkato in Addis...) it maybe a nice visit if it's your first ethiopian market or if you have some spare time.
To get there, take the track after Bet Gyorgis, it's about 10 minutes walking.
This gorgeous cave church is far from Lalibela town, approx 1hr 15 mins by car/van/4WD... For a party of 6-7 people, expect to pay no more than ETB80-90 per person for vehicle hire + services of driver excl. tips.
It's built in a cave, sheltered from the elements.
Behind the church is a dark, mass "grave"... where lots of skeletons and skulls lay... all over the place... belonging to the pilgrims who have walked all the way from Alexandria, Egypt and chose to die there and have their remains remain there.
The church is built of alternative blocks of marble and wood. The white layers ARE marble, despite some travelers in my group insisting it's just plain granite.
About a two hours walk up the mountain which is overlooking Lalibela at an altitude of about 4000 metres is the monastery of Asheton Maryam. Its often visited by travellers because it’s a pleasant half-day hiking trip.
The church is carved into the cliff-like rocks. Inside and the monastery chaplet there are some crosses and manuscripts to see. You are allowed to take pictures and even use a flashlight. Remove your shoes!
Nothing too exciting can be seen here but the wonderful location is worth coming up here. Be prepared that the most scenic place with the best panorama view on Lalibela is used as a toilet for the monks. It seems that they like enjoying the amazing view while having a good dump!
The entrance fee is 50 Birr and therefore the monks will show you around and let you have a look on their treasures.
To get to the monastery take the road to the left side of Blu Lal Restaurant. When the road bends left, go right on the path between the houses until you reach the water pipeline. Follow the tubes up the hill. There is a small hut on the left side when you have to turn right onto a steep path leading up the mountain. Whenever the tracks forks off take the track going up and you`ll be on the right way. Once you reach the plateau head towards the summit on the right side.
From the highway to Addis Abeba we took a sideroad to the west to Sekota and after 100 KM to the south to reach Lalibela from the north. It was a fantastic road with almost no traffic through a scenic mountaineous area.
The area was very dry. Sometimes the road descended to the bottom of a valley to cross a river. Higher in the mountains people were standing along the road with containers asking for water, because it's a long way for them to go down to the river in the valley.
We stopped in a small village for a coffee and a softdrink. People were very curious and came to look at us. We had a lunchbreak somewhere down in a valley, looking for some shade under the only big olive tree, we could find.
In the mountains we saw some typical traditional villages with round huts with thatched roofs.
one remark with these pictures: Ethiopia is the only African country so far where I've seen boys or men carrying kids and babies.....
If someone contests, please let me know .... :-)