Photos: The architectural mastery of Ethiopia’s ancient churches
This small, modern church is built in front of the grotto where Ethiopian Saint Aragawi is said to have vanished.
Image: The American University in Cairo Press
Abdi Latif Dahir
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Ethiopia is legendary for its medieval, rock-hewn churches, the cruciform and colorful frescoes of which have attracted tourists from across the world. The ancient kingdom of Abyssinia, which we now know as modern-day Ethiopia and Eritrea, was probably the site of the first Christian nation, and the churches still serve as religious sanctuaries and draw pilgrims celebrating the Ethiopian Christian calendar.
Ethiopia: The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom celebrates the unique artistic and architectural achievement of 66 of these churches with more than 800 color photographs. The book delves into their history, documenting not just their exteriors, but their interior artwork, the panoply of religious festivals they host, and the lives of the monks and priests who call them home.
Published in November by Ludwig Publishing and the American University in Cairo Press, the book is a collaboration between academics, journalists, and photographers living both in and out of the continent. The captivating pictures are a testimony to the architectural mastery and uniqueness of Ethiopia’s medieval and post-medieval civilizations.
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