Lalibella is famous for its network of underground stone churches carved between 1200 and 1600 (approximately) which have become a famous site of orthodox christianity.
Inside the underground network there are many chambers where a variety of religious activities take place
Many priests and other religious officials are there to be seen in fancy robes and dress
But at other times they can appear quite relaxed. This priest was 'closing up' and had just put on his shoes to go home at the end of the day
Photographing in the low light conditions was quite and challenge. Some of the people were quite accepting and others turned away when approached
The priests seemed content to ignore the tourists though donations were welcome
Congregants were uniformly anxious for the opportunity to kiss the cross
While some areas were almost well lit, candles were necessary in others
The low light clearly added a sense of mystery to the proceedings
People were found commonly reading or contemplating in better lit areas
The community outside the churches was quite vibrant
But the extent of the poverty in parts of the community was clear
During the celebrations large processions with drums and noisy singing were the rule
Long lines of well dressed celebrants marched through the streets
Similar processions were held in the countryside
The evident dedication of the people and the beauty of the setting will be long remembered.