Spiritual Lalibela

Devotion, mysticism and sacredness. I like to use these three words to describe Lalibela, the Ethiopian city considered a unique reality in the world with its churches carved into the living rock, created with the intention of giving life to a small Jerusalem.

The mythical Lalibela is one of the most fascinating places on the planet; it might seem too peremptory as a statement but it is enough to touch the grandeur and splendor of it’s underground churches to realize that’s true! It is one of the most sacred and popular places in Ethiopia, a destination for pilgrimages that have continued uninterruptedly since the 12th century, when the city was founded.

Lalibela is the goal of life for a multitude of pilgrims who come here on foot, through ravaged, parched and sun-cracked lands, arriving even from very far away with journeys that sometimes last several months. This peaceful invasion is characterized by an explosion of colors among which the white candor of the “Shamma” worn by pilgrims stands out. The sumptuousness of the damask velvets of the religious and that of the multicolored umbrellas embroidered with gold and silver thread.

Everywhere there is an atmosphere of great devotion and mysticism. Many people take refuge among these rocks to lead a life of prayer. A simple, spartan, essential life.

These images were taken in January 2020 with the intent of documenting some aspects of this ancient and mysterious Christian current that has always fascinated me.