Underground, we hold candles to light our way through a labyrinthine approach to the rock-hewn monolithic churches. Suddenly the sunlight floods in through arched windows illuminating colourful murals depicting stories from the Bible. Angels, devils and saints observe us shuffling on the cobbles on bare feet. A priest appears, dressed in sumptuous crimson robes and holding aloft one of the silver crosses of Lalibela. He dons sunglasses to protect his eyes as our cameras start to flash, and he grins like a Hollywood A lister caught by the paparazzi.
Judith Baker, Ethiopia,Hedge magazine, January 2010