Art & CultureNews

France Keen to Re-initiate Lalibela Churches Renovation Project

ADDIS ABABA –France is keen to re-initiate the renovation project of rock-hewn churches in Lalibela as soon as the peace in the town is fully restored, Ethiopia’s Technology minister said.

The announcement came after Minister of Innovation and Technology, Belete Molla (PhD) held discussion with Ambassador of France to Ethiopia, Rémi Maréchaux, on Wednesday.

During the discussion, the Minister said ambassador Remi expressed readiness of his country to resume the renovation works of the rock-hewn churches.

“Ambassador Remi hope that once peace is restored in the North, projects having to do with protecting Lalibela heritages will soon be re-initiated,” said the minister in a message posted on Twitter after his meeting with the ambassador.

Lalibela is a home to 11 medieval rock-cut churches and a site of pilgrimage for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ethiopia.

The preservation project of the churches by French experts was officially launched by French Minister of Culture who visited Ethiopia in Sept, 2019.

Its progress, however, has been hampered by the conflict in northern Ethiopia and the invasion of the town by TPLF forces in early August.

On Wednesday afternoon, Ethiopian security forces have taken control of the town – a news welcomed by the Minister of Innovation and Technology.

This means the renovation project will be reinstated “sooner than later”,  Belete said.


Featured Image: A priest sits outside Biete Abba Libanos reading a liturgy book written in Ge’ez, the ancient language of scripture in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church [Photo Jenna Belhumeur/AJ]