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The Rehabilitation Of The Zaguë Kings And The Building Of The Däbrä Sina – Golgotha – Sellassie Complex In Lalibäla

The Rehabilitation Of The Zaguë Kings And The Building Of The Däbrä Sina – Golgotha – Sellassie Complex In Lalibäla

By Michael Gervers

Africana Bulletin, No. 51 (2003)

Introduction: The Zaguë capital, Lalibäla, with its twelve rock-cut and monolithic sites designated as churches, has received more attention in travel and scholarly literature than any other medieval place in Ethiopia. The churches known as Däbrä Sina and Golgotha have been considered of primary importance within the rock-cut complex since it was first described in western literature by the Portuguese priest, Father Francisco Alvares, following his visit in 1521. He describes ten churches in considerable detail, and ends by saying “I weary of writing more about these buildings, because it seems to me that I shall not be believed if I write more …”. More than four hundred years later, A.A. Monti della Corte referred to the site as “la gemma archeologica e artistica indiscussa”.

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