Ethiopia (November-December 2013)

Rock-Hewn Churches of Tigray (1): Mikael Imba and Mikael Melehayzenghi

Return to main Ethiopia November-December 2013 webpage


The two churches of Mikael Imba and Mikael Melehayzenghi lie on the east side of the main road between Mekele and Adigrat.


Scenery before reaching the church of Mikael Imba.


Michael Imba (11th century?) is located on top of a small hill. This three-quarter monolith is the Tigraian church that resembles the most to the churches of Lalibela. However, as it is older than these churches, it may well have been used as a model by the designers of the Lalibela churches.



The interior of Mikael Imba is large with many pillars.



Outside ponds for baptism at Mikael Imba.


A view from the hill where Mikael Imba is located.


The church of Mikael Melehayzenghi (8th century?) is completely different and quite unique. It is carved inside the domed rock outcrop seen on the center-right of this picture.


Bells of Mikael Melehayzenghi.


Unlike Mikael Imba, Mikael Melehayzenghi has no impressive exterior. Two small doors lead inside the church, which lies entirely in the rock dome.


All surfaces inside of the church, except the floor, are curved. There is no straight line.



Decoration in the ceiling.


Paintings (but not as old as the church, by far).



The priest in his church.


Link to Abuna Yemata Guh and Maryam Korkor.


Return to main Ethiopia November-December 2013 webpage