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Ethiopia's "New Jerusalem"


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."