The small village of BILBILLA, 30km north of Lalibela off the Sekota road, lies at the centre of a cluster of four historic churches. Three of these are rock-hewn, and though not as impressive as their counterparts in Lalibela town, they do predate them by several centuries – dating back, it’s claimed, to the sixth-century reign of Emperor Kaleb – and have the advantage of being less heavily touristed. The fourth and most unusual church, Yemrehanna Kristos, is a cave temple protecting a very old rectangular church built from layered wood and stone.

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