Religion Past and Present

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(517 words)

[German Version]

Lālibalā is a famous group of monolithic churches in the Wollo (Lasta) region of Ethiopia (Church architecture: V, 2). The site (formerly called Roha), at an elevation of 2,600 m, was made the capital of the Zagwe Dynasty (c. 1137–1270) during the reign of King Lālibalā (c. 1181–1221). Ethiopian tradition ascribes to him the construction of the eleven churches, each hewn out of a single block of reddish rock (tuff). His gadl (vita of a saint) recounts that God commissioned Lālibalā to re-create Jerusalem in Ethiopia. The names and configuration of th…

Cite this page
Böll, Verena, “Lālibalā.”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 21 January 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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