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The Lalibela Story


Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, elephant silhouettes.

We can do better.

King Lalibela got his name when bees swarmed around him at birth. His mother took this as a prophecy of future greatness.

King Lalibela was a brilliant engineer and is immortalized by the 11 rock churches he built in the town that bears his name.

His masterpiece, unlike most buildings in the world, was built from the top down. Carving straight into the ground to reveal a structure in the perfect shape of a cross. Then hollowing out the inside. 900 years ago.

The New York Times art critic said: “There is no architecture or sculpture quite like them anywhere.”

My name is Elizabeth Tsehai. I’m from Ethiopia and live in Washington, DC. I took my idea for a decorative replica of the cross shaped church to a designer in Addis, Biruk Hailu. His attention to detail would make King Lalibela proud.

Lalibela is an African story of brilliance and aspiration, history and legacy.

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