My name is Elizabeth Tsehai. I am an Ethiopian-American entrepreneur based in Washington, DC. I found that many people had not heard of Ethiopia's cross-shaped church, so I designed a small decorative replica as a way of showcasing it. A firm in Addis helped with the design and I added LED lights to reference the candlelit ceremonies that still take place there.
Carved from a single rock 900 years ago, Lalibela's cross-shaped church is a remarkable feat of architecture and engineering. Known as Bet Giorgis, or House of St. George, it is well preserved due to an ingenious drainage system which keeps water from pooling on the roof and a surrounding trench which protects it from the elements.
Iconic structures around the world represent a country's culture, history and achievement. Lalibela's cross-shaped church may not be among the best known, but its story is no less compelling.