Stories of some of the great Ethiopians who have contributed to the country in their fields of expertise
King Lalibela was one of the most prominent rulers of Ethiopia’s Zagwe Dynasty who reigned in the 12th century. He is the ruler credited with the construction of the world-famous rock-hewn ancient Churches in the town of Lalibela in northern Ethiopia. In fact, the town, previously known as Roha, was named after king Lalibela himself upon his death. According to an Ethiopian legend, God instructed king Lalibela to build the unique churches that have been a collective centre of pilgrimage over the centuries. This legend also states that the churches of Lalibela were built with the help of angles. The design of the churches is quite unique: they are carved out of a single piece of granite below ground level, are massive (several are in excess of 10 meters high); and they are connected to each other by a tangled maze of tunnels. Yet they are also different, in size and style, from one another.
Alula Abanega was the commoner who joined forces with Ethiopia’s ruling elite taking extraordinary leadership roles. He particularly worked with Emperor Yohannes IV and Emperor Minilik to fight some of the country’s toughest battles against Italy and Briton as well as Ethiopia’s opponents of the time in parts of the Sudan and Egypt. He is largely credited with being a heroic figure tirelessly defending his country from foreign aggression, and also with being the strategist during the Battle of Adwa when Ethiopia defeated the Italians under the leadership of Emperor Minilik.
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