The smell of incense fills the room. In the light of the candles, the priests preach for hours from the centuries-old books, while the faithful listen carefully, wrapped in their white cloths. The muffled rhythm of the drums interrupts the monotonous prayer and soon resonates clearly through the crowd. The faithful begin to praise and sing. They celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. To this day, masses of pious Christians make pilgrimages to Lalibela at Easter and at high church festivals.
Artfully carved into the reddish tufa eight centuries ago, Lalibela is one of the holiest places of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, a second Jerusalem. Angels are said to have been involved in the construction because it is inconceivable how such imposing rock churches could once be created by human hands.