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Rock Church of Lalibela Tabletop Decor

Lit Up Lalibela is a battery-lit replica of a 900-year old church and a unique accent for a table, shelf or desk

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The Lalibela Story

Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, elephant silhouettes...

The rest of the world is represented by history and achievement. Africa should be too.

So here’s another option:

Taj Majal, Eiffel Tower, Lalibela...

In 12th century Ethiopia, King Lalibela got his name when bees swarmed around his head at birth. His mother named him Lalibela, which means bees recognize his sovereignty. She prophesied that he would one day be king. He is remembered for the rock-hewn churches he had built in the town that now bears his name.

The best known is the cross-shaped church. Unlike most buildings in the world, it was built from the top down. Imagine that. Carving down into the ground to build a structure out of solid rock in the perfect shape of a cross. Then hollowing out the inside. 900 years ago.

The New York Times art critic said about the churches in Lalibela: “In scale, number and variety of form, there is no architecture or sculpture quite like them anywhere.”

I created the Lit Up Lalibela replica to tell a story. Everyone who buys one helps tell this story. 

Thank you for that.

Part of the proceeds from the sale of this replica go towards preserving Lalibela’s churches.

Africa has no history ???

The 19th century German philosopher Hegel said “Africa is no historical part of the world.”


Ethiopia’s Axumite Empire accepted Christianity as a state religion in the 4th century. During which time, it traded with the Romans, the Egyptians and the Persians. Not the Germans though, because the Germans at the time were “no historical part of the world.”

Ethiopia’s rock churches were built in the 12th century when the Crusades made travel to the Holy Land dangerous. King Lalibela wanted his people to have a safe place for pilgrimage. His vision endures.

On Christmas and Easter, Lalibela’s population triples as worshippers from around the country come to celebrate in ceremonies unchanged over the centuries. Visitors have described the experience as profound, like stepping back in time.

“If you want to be moved by mankind, by religion, go there,” said a CNN photographer. "I’m amazed everybody doesn’t know about this place.”


Lalibela has the potential to someday be one of the world’s most visited sites. Like Machu Picchu, which went from being virtually unknown to drawing millions of tourists each year.

There are plans beyond tourism. The Ethiopian Space Science Society is in the exploratory stages of plans to build a state-of-the-art Observatory.

The International Astronomical Union believes that Lalibela, with its high altitude, thin air and minimal cloud cover is among the best places in the world for astronomical viewing.

Ethiopia has a long history of stargazing - a scholarly tradition tied to agriculture. The Observatory would build on that tradition, collecting information about rainfall and weather patterns so farmers can better monitor their crops.

Lalibela’s rock churches are its past.

The Observatory is its future.