The amazing churches of Lalibela. Some background noise, sorry. Not home. www.sacred-destinations.com/ethiopia/lalibela en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lalibela#mediaviewer/File:Bete_Maryam_01.jpg www.slate.com/blogs/atlas_obscura/2014/02/19/bete_giyorgis_in_lalibela_is_one_of_13_stone_hewn_churches_from_the_13th.html www.sacred-destinations.com/ethiopia/lalibela The churches of Lalibela were not constructed — they were excavated. Each church was created by first carving out a wide trench on all four sides of the rock, then painstakingly chiseling out the interior. The largest church is 40 feet high, and the labor required to complete such a task with only hammers and chisels is astounding. Popular legend has it that angels came every night to pick up where the workmen had left off. One of the churches, Bet Maryam, contains a stone pillar on which King Lalibela wrote the secrets of the buildings' construction. It is covered with old cloths and only the priests may look on it.