Lalibela, the Ethiopian city famous for the monolithic monuments all excavated in basalt

At Lalibela, the Ethiopian city famous for monolithic monuments all covered in basalt, UNESCO and UNCCD projects on protecting monuments and combating erosion with traditional methods have brought great results. By identifying and cleaning an ancient moat that has been abandoned for a thousand years we have safeguarded the monuments and provided water to irrigate the plants. Excess water is drained to the north as expected although many did not believe it. With the excavations carried out restoring the old water system, the water level after the summer rains stopped right at the base of the passage to the court of the monument so now this is completely dry. In the moat the water is perfectly preserved in the open and on-wall tanks we interpreted, just to the limit of the traces that had signaled the existence of ancient bulkheads.

The monument is drained. Also people come to catch the water !!! Recognizing and recovering the old moat of Lalibela town abandoned for nearly a thousand years allows the preservation of monolithic churches and provides water for reforestation. With the UNCCD (Italian Ministry of Environment) project we protected a school located on the eruption slope that we had on the terrace and installed 7,000 plants. It’s a forest! The school is safe and the children have a garden with trees, fruits and vegetables.

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