Preparation is underway to launch the restoration of the Monolithic Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela, according to Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH). Completion for the refurbishment work is expected within three years in collaboration with various domestic and international institutions. The UNESCO World Heritage Churches of Lalibela, have suffered damage due to their age; in 2008 a metal roof was erected as a temporary solution to protect against possible cracks and damage caused by sunlight.


Cultural Heritage Conservation Director, Hailu Zeleke emphasized that the refurbishment needs painstaking study before any actual restoration activities are initiated in order to maintain originality.

The Bethe-Golgotha Michael pilot project, which was inaugurated recently is being studied and is expected to play a critical role for similar projects. “We have properly utilized the first experience of Bethe-Gabriel-Rufael for Bethe-Golgotha Michael which is the second pilot project. Now the experience we have gained from Bethe Golgotah Michal is being studied and to see how things can be improved. The next step is to apply those encouraging experiences to other churches which are still under temporary shelters”, Hailu pointed out.


Activities are underway in collaboration with the government led Construction Design and Supervision Institution before any actual rehabilitation program, which is the critical part on how to manage the restoration process.


Following the final document from the supervision, doors will open for standardized tender from international companies and the rehabilitation work will start soon on those Rock-hewn churches, which are under temporary shelters.

Dr. Samuel Negash, historian from Addis Ababa University, stated that heritage structures are properties that belong to the whole society. Members of society are beneficiaries of the heritage buildings despite the government having the biggest task of preserving those heritages. “These heritage structures for us are proud sources of symbols of civilization to show the rest of the world how we were civilized before anyone had reached that level. So, these proud symbols of the nation must be restored with proper preservation”.


SOURCE: Ethiopian News Agency