Roha was the original name for this small town placed at 2500 meters in the Amharic region of Northern Ethiopia.
It was the center of the Zagwe dynasty that ruled the land from the 10th to 13th centuries, and the name was changed in honor of King Lalibela, who (rather unbelievably) constructed plethora of churches from solid rock within his lifetime, inspired to create a “new Jerusalem.”
Lalibela is a UNESCO world heritage site, and must be seen to be believed. In fact the earliest Europeans to encounter Lalibela felt they would not be believed if they wrote of it. In the 1520’s the first visit from a Portuguese priest inspired him to write “I weary of writing more about these buildings, because it seems to me that I shall not be believed if I write more … I swear by God, in Whose power I am, that all I have written is the truth.”
It is no longer such a remote town to visit, now that there is daily air service from Addis. There were few if any Americans there though during our brief stay. – Tom