Lalibela is a part of the world's medieval history when the Crusades made it dangerous for pilgrims to travel to Jerusalem. In the 12th century, Ethiopia's King Lalibela built a series of rock-hewn churches in Roha, a town later named after him. He envisioned this "New Jerusalem" as a safe alternative for pilgrimage. His vision endures: Lalibela to this day draws thousands of worshippers on religious holidays. The candlelit ceremonies are unchanged over the centuries. A recent New York Times article noted: "Ethiopia is...an attractive mix of ancient tradition and rapid modernization."