Friday, 24 December 2010

Photo Friday: An Ethiopian priest at Lalibela

It's Christmas Eve, and while I'm an agnostic I know many of my friends and readers are celebrating the birth of Christ, who probably existed but almost certainly wasn't born on December 25. So in the holiday spirit here's a priest standing in one of the famous rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, which I wrote about for Gadling at part of my series on travel in Ethiopia. These churches are actually carved out of the bedrock and are some of the most amazing buildings I've ever seen.

Ethiopia is the second oldest Christian country in the world, having converted in the fourth century shortly after Armenia. Actually, the Roman Empire converted before Armenia did, but where is it now? The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has its own traditions, calendar, and several holy books that were edited out of the Western edition of the Bible. They also have some amazing architecture and art, as you can see here.

Does this guy look a bit Chinese to you? I met several Ethiopians who do. China had trade links with East Africa for centuries. A recent DNA test found links between the populations of China and Kenya. I'd like to get those Chinese geneticists to test out some Ethiopians.

Happy holidays everybody!

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