Church of Bet Abba Libanos, Lalibela, Ethiopia
The signs of age only contribute to this 13th-century church's simple appeal.
If you'll compare the church's right and left corners, you'll see the left side is solid rock, while the right appears to be built of masonry blocks of the same material as the rest of the church.
This difference suggests the right side was rebuilt with masonry blocks after it collapsed. Another possibility is the stone in that part of the rock face wasn't structurally sound when the church was built, so masonry blocks have always formed the church's right corner.
It is challenging to photograph a building such as this, with its strong (almost) vertical and (almost) horizontal lines. The lens I used tends to distort such images so what you see through the viewfinder is most definitely not what you get when you view the photograph.
I corrected the lens distortion as best I could with Photoshop CS3.
If the columns, windows, doors and roof line aren't plumb, it's probably due to the toll time and the elements have taken on the building. I think it adds to the charm.
In his Bradt Guide Ethiopia (November 2005, 4th Ed.), Phillip Briggs writes:
"According to the legends, Bet Abba Libanos was built overnight by Lalibela's wife Meskel Kebre, assisted by a group of angels."
"The church has been built around [sic] a cave in a vertical face, and although the roof is still connected to the original rock, the sides and back are separated from the rock by narrow tunnels."
"The pink-tinged façade, which once again shows strong Axumite influences in its arched and cruciform windows, lies under an overhang in a way that is reminiscent of some churches in Tigrai."