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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Churches built in the caves of Lasta (Wällo Province, Ethiopia): a chronology
Author:Gervers, Michael
Periodical:Aethiopica: International Journal of Ethiopian Studies (ISSN 1430-1938)
Geographic term:Ethiopia
architectural history
External link:https://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/aethiopica/article/view/857/824
Abstract:The five churches of Y?mr??annä Kr?stos,?mäkina Mäd?ane?Aläm,?mäkina L?dätä Maryam, Walye Iyäsus and Žämmädu Maryam are all built in caves in the massif of Abunä Yosef, situated in the Lasta region of Wollo. Changes in their architectural forms suggest that they were constructed over a period of several hundred years in the order listed and as such represent a significant chronological model against which many of Ethiopia's rock-hewn churches may be compared. Until the publication of this paper, it has been universally accepted that the church of Y?mr??annä Kr?stos was built in the second half of the 12th century under the sponsorship of an eponymous king. Aspects of the church's architecture, such as the absence of a raised space reserved for the priesthood before the triumphal arch (the bema), point to a date of construction around the mid-13th century. By the end of the 13th century, as witnessed by?mäkina Mäd?ane?Aläm and the other churches built in caves, the full-width sanctuary becomes a characteristic which endures throughout 14th- and 15th -century Ethiopian church architecture. Y?mr??annä Kr?stos and Gännätä Maryam stand on the cusp of a major liturgical change which coincides with the transfer of royal power from the Zagwe dynasty to their Solomonic successors, who sought legitimacy by following Coptic practices. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]