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Asheten Eco Trekking
Ranked #4 of 12 things to do in Lalibela
Attraction details
Reviewed 3 May 2018

This was the highlight of my trip! We got on our mules outside of our hotel and rode up Asheten mountain. There is one stop you make halfway up the mountain. They ask you to buy soda for your mule guides, hats, and other handmade items. You just have to remember to lean forward when the mule is climbing at steep parts of the road and to lean backwards when decending. After visiting the church at the top, we were invited to buna (coffee) and qolo (traditional snack).

Thank Love L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2 - 6 of 96 reviews

Reviewed 29 January 2018

I texted Getacho, the manager, that we were on our way
As soon as we arrived to Lalibela he met us, agreed to take us for a 3 day journey to Abuna Yosef.
The minute after - he became our friend and guide - everything was possible and well orginized: A tour in the city market. A tour with major discount to the churches, A Bajaj driver that can support us without rushing, a visit at Tej for dancing, He even talked with a family so we will be guests in a wedding. just name it.

Eventually he taken us to Abuna Yosef, everything was organized and ready for us - water, donkey, well cooked food, a local family for resting at evening time in a village with unbelievable view. Culture explanations. He even opened his family house for us when we were on our way back to Lalibela.

1  Thank Curiosity752002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 September 2017

One of the highlights of our 11 night historic route trip to Ethiopia at the end of July 2017 was the rock churches of Lalibela, in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia. These are a group of eleven churches hewn from the living rock during the 12th and 13th centuries under the reign of Saint Gebre Mesquel Lalibela. These churches are still active centers of worship as well as justly famed tourist attractions.

We start our visit at the ticket office and museum, where a number of historic objects are on display including the prayer sticks, sistrums and drums used in Ethiopian Orthodox chant, priestly vestments and (my favorite) examples of locally produced illuminated church manuscripts.

A word about manuscripts. Ethiopia has been a center of Christianity since at least the early fourth century. For all the time of the Church’s tenure here, trained monks and scribes have been producing hand-copied, beautifully illustrated manuscripts. There are about half a million such documents containing saints’ lives, biblical stories, copies of the Apocrypha, etc. preserved throughout the country, sometimes carefully, sometimes less so. Abel Mekonnen , our guide, was especially helpful regarding these manuscripts, which are a particular interest of mine. Abel is a devout Ethiopian Christian and is trained since childhood as a deacon of the church. This background helped him guide us in proper behavior while visiting these churches and to smooth the way with the church staff we encountered to get a closer look at some things. Best of all, from my point of view, Abel can read Ge’ez, the liturgical language of the Church from which modern Amharic is descended and in which all these manuscripts are written. . So not only could I see and in a few cases touch (very carefully) some Church documents well over a thousand years old, I was width a guide who could actually read them to me. This ability to touch the lives of people over a thousand years gone gave me literal chills more than once during the trip.

Back to Lalibela and the churches. Once we’d visited the museum, we went on to the churches themselves. They do not disappoint. The eleven churches are grouped in three sets. We start with the Northern, including the first, Biete Medhane Alem, home of the famous Lalibela Cross, and St Mary’s church with its three windows and three different crosses worked into the architecture and décor. Keep an eye out for odd holes and nooks dug into the stone. Some are storage; others may be bakeries or even tombs. Ask questions.

Then we move to the Western “Group” – actually just one church, the Church of St George. George is the patron saint of Ethiopia, and his church is maybe the most spectacular. As it’s dug into the stone, when one approaches it one sees the roof, level with the rest of the ground and laid out in a cross. Upon descending we see a beautifully laid-out structure, taller than it is wide, with precisely-carved walls, pediments and windows. This church is perhaps the best-executed and best preserved of the eleven.

The Eastern Group comprises the rest of the churches. These include a bakery, and what the guides cheerfully refer to as “Hell”: a passage (I think) between the Church of Gabriel and Rafael, and Biete Lehem. This is a 120-foot corridor entirely without light or window, and which guests are encouraged to make in complete darkness as a spiritual exercise. A bit harrowing for my mildly claustrophobic self, but still rather exciting.

This concluded the day, during which we also took a break to wander through a large local market, where everything from livestock to frankincense to cheap Chinese kitchenware could be had, and enjoyed a very tasty lunch (although we’re a pretty easy crowd to please, since we all love Ethiopian food and in particular are wild for Ethiopian coffee). In general, and in sum, of my quarter-century of global travel these churches comprise one of the most impressive historical sights I’ve seen. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Our visit to Lalibela (and rest of our trip) was arranged by Cheff Ayge Woolde Silassie (aygechambalala@yahoo.com ) who guided us in Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia in July 2016. We were so impressed with him that we had him to put together a second 2017 visit which included Lalibela.

2  Thank 108Mary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2017

At fiirst sight you feel as if you have moved to tha past Bible times. People greet tourist, kids come qickly, curious to talk to you and try their English. A place where poverty is making you very sad. Presents like T-shirts, pens and little notebooks will make kids really happy! They need support in all means!

Thank Billyana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 18 April 2017

We found Lalibela a unique place in Africa with a very interesting history. The visit of 11 churches and the Asheton Mariyam monastery, spread over 3 mornings, was well guided by Ermiyas. We got all the stories and background of the site. We could take our own time and we went back in time. A fantastic experience.

Thank lydares
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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