BETA MARIAM, THE CHURCH OF MARY
Petit Futé's opinion on BETA MARIAM, THE CHURCH OF MARY
Linked to Medhane Alem by a small tunnel, the monolith church rises in the centre of a second pit comprising a set of sanctuaries and the angle of which a swimming pool with the miraculous virtues, recommended for sterile women, is cut.
A smaller size is the first church of the complex. The building is surrounded by three porches, one of which is surmounted by bas-relief to the riders recalling the many equestrian saints of Ethiopian religion. The windows are surrounded by so-called "monkey heads" typical of axoumite architecture.
The interior, adopting the classical basilicale division with three naves surmounted by a gallery, reveals an extremely rich pictorial decoration, mixing frescoes and paintings from the rock, probably from different periods. Iconography recalls episodes such as the Annunciation, the Nativity, the escape in Egypt, the multiplication of loaves or the Transfiguration. Among the animals, two fighting bulls, one white, the other black, symboliseraient the struggle of good and evil.
In the center, an isolated pillar covered with intrigue curtains. The local tradition reported that Christ would have appeared here in King Lalibela, leaving on the pillar the narrative of the past and the future of the world, a world that would disappear instantly if this narrative were to be revealed.
The church, dedicated to Mary and which is said to have been the favourite church of King Lalibela, is still the subject of intense intense veneration.
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Selection Sightseeing Lalibela
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