Gorgeous Photos of the Ethiopian Christian Churches of Abyssinia

Quartz has published (on Christmas day, those diligent folks!) a beautiful photo essay on the early Christian churches of Abyssinia (now in Ethiopia and Eritrea). The photos come from a book entitled Ethiopia: The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom, by the American University of Cairo Press.

Many of these rock-hewn churches and their very early frescoes are beautifully preserved, and while not technically Byzantine, are similar in many ways and certainly worth looking at. In many respects they remind me of the rock-cut churches and frescoes of central Turkey, especially Cappadocia. The latter frescoes are, honestly, not well-preserved at all, and in many cases vandalized quite a bit, so it’s nice to see some in great condition.

Other of the smaller, non-rock-cut churches are reminiscent of the later small churches and monastery chapels from the late medieval period in the Troodos region of central Cyprus. Take a look at the Debre Berhan Selassie Church in Quartz’s photos and see if you don’t similarities yourself.

This is a wonderful set of photos, and you should really check it out.

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