Ethiopia government says it has recaptured Lalibela, UN World Heritage site

Ethiopia Ethiopia government says it has recaptured Lalibela, UN World Heritage site By Christmas the desolate ancient city had seen nearly 200,000 Christians flock in A woman walks through a dark city centre in…

Ethiopia government says it has recaptured Lalibela, UN World Heritage site

Ethiopia Ethiopia government says it has recaptured Lalibela, UN World Heritage site By Christmas the desolate ancient city had seen nearly 200,000 Christians flock in A woman walks through a dark city centre in Lalibela. Photograph: Reuters

Ethiopia says it has recaptured a 1,500-year-old historical site, birthplace of Christianity, after almost 200,000 people arrived there to make a holy pilgrimage last Christmas Day.

Christians fill Lalibela for Christmas festival – in pictures Read more

By last week, pilgrims were once again returning to the barren west African city of Lalibela, replete with churches and historic churches. In comparison, thousands of worshippers visited a similar site in the Dominican Republic this year.

From the ninth to second centuries, before the arrival of the Moors and Spanish, the city was an important crossroads and a meeting point between Christian tribes. The Minoans built the first church there in the year 430.

Such is the spiritual significance that Ethiopia, which is officially an Islamic country, has asked Saudi Arabia to treat the Christians as pilgrims.

The first Christian church was built at Lalibela in 1762. By 2010, officials said, almost every Christian in the country of 100 million people were visiting and it had earned millions of dollars for the government.

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