Lalibela is a town in northern Ethiopia that is famous for its monolithicrock-cut churches. Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest cities, second only to Aksum, and is a center of pilgrimage for much of the country. Unlike Aksum, the population of Lalibela is almost completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. The layout and names of the major buildings in Lalibela are widely accepted, especially by the local clergy, to be a symbolic representation of Jerusalem. This has led some experts to date the current form of its churches to the years following the capture of Jerusalem in 1187 by the Muslim soldier Saladin.
Located in the Semien Wollo Zone of the Amharaethnic division (or kilil) at 2,500 meters above sea level, Lalibela has a latitude and longitude of 12°02′N39°02′E / 12.033°N 39.033°E / 12.033; 39.033. It is the main town in Lastaworeda, which was formerly part of Bugna woreda.