In pictures: The churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia

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Image source, Frank Gardner
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Carved in stone: the extraordinary 12th Century Church of St George at Lalibela. Part of a World Heritage site, it took more than 20 years to carve this church out of the mountainside.
Image source, Frank Gardner
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Many Ethiopians trek for miles to reach these churches in time for Palm Sunday. Here a Baptism is taking place.
Image source, Frank Gardner
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Glimpsed from a cave: the lichen-covered Church of St Giorgis of Lalibela. This church is considered worldwide as the apex of monolithic religious architecture.
Image source, Frank Gardner
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Father Wedaj, who guards the Church of St Giorgis. He blessed those who made a special effort to reach his church at Easter, which is 8 April in the Orthodox calendar.
Image source, Frank Gardner
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An Ethiopian nun at the Church of St Mary of Zion in Axum. The red carpet has been laid out in preparation for the Lent Procession around the church.
Image source, Frank Gardner
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Prayer and contemplation. An Ethiopian monk reads the Bible against the wall of the Monastery at St Mary of Zion in Axum.
Image source, Frank Gardner
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A chance encounter: a pilgrim (left) passes a nun (right) in a subterranean tunnel carved into the 12th Century church complex at Lalibela.
Image source, Frank Gardner
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Lent Procession, led by priests, hundreds of pilgrims walk three times around the Church of St Mary of Zion in Axum, asking for forgiveness.
Image source, Frank Gardner
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High security sanctuary: the chapel in the Church of St Mary of Zion where the Ark of the Covenant is alleged to be kept.

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