Ethiopia (November-December 2013)

Rock-Hewn Churches of Tigray (1): Mikael Imba and Mikael Melehayzenghi

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The two churches of Mikael Imba and Mikael Melehayzenghi lie on the east side of the main road between Mekele and Adigrat.

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Scenery before reaching the church of Mikael Imba.

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Michael Imba (11th century?) is located on top of a small hill. This three-quarter monolith is the Tigraian church that resembles the most to the churches of Lalibela. However, as it is older than these churches, it may well have been used as a model by the designers of the Lalibela churches.

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The interior of Mikael Imba is large with many pillars.

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Outside ponds for baptism at Mikael Imba.

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A view from the hill where Mikael Imba is located.

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The church of Mikael Melehayzenghi (8th century?) is completely different and quite unique. It is carved inside the domed rock outcrop seen on the center-right of this picture.

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Bells of Mikael Melehayzenghi.

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Unlike Mikael Imba, Mikael Melehayzenghi has no impressive exterior. Two small doors lead inside the church, which lies entirely in the rock dome.

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All surfaces inside of the church, except the floor, are curved. There is no straight line.

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Decoration in the ceiling.

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Paintings (but not as old as the church, by far).

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The priest in his church.

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Link to Abuna Yemata Guh and Maryam Korkor.

 

Return to main Ethiopia November-December 2013 webpage