Ethiopia races to preserve 'Africa's Jerusalem'

Archaeologists face a race against time to save 800-year-old structures crumbling away from moisture damage.


    Conservationists are facing a race against time to prevent one of Ethiopia's most sacred religious site from crumbling away.

    The ancient churches of Lalibela in northern Ethiopia have been a place of pilgrimage for local Christians since they were constructed 800 years ago.

    The 11 churches were carved out of the mountainside during the reign of the priest-king Lalibela, who hoped to give Ethiopians a place for pilgrimage inside the country and help them avoid making the dangerous journey to Jerusalem.

    However, moisture is eating away at the structures and the sacred site is literally crumbling away.

    The geological properties of the sites mean traditional tools and materials used to restore sites cannot be used. Instead, conservation experts are using improvised techniques to hold the structure together until they can strengthen it.

    The methods include bandaging parts most at risk from rain damage until they can be treated.

    The site was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978, but its importance to Ethiopian Christians extends beyond its archaeological importance. Many pray that the site will be preserved.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


     How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    Ninety-nine years since Balfour's "promise", Palestinians insist that their rights in Palestine cannot be dismissed.

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    In the rundown Pedion Areos Park, older men walk slowly by young asylum seekers before agreeing on a price for sex.

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    The story of a most-wanted fugitive and billionaire.