Early churches constructed around Lalibela from the sixth to the fifteenth century include churches built under protective roof of caves of different rock types and rock hewn churches excavated from largely volcanic rock. The churches are believed to be hewn and constructed based on basilica architectural styles and adopting elements of Pre-Christian Axumite structures. The dates for the churches are highly depended on traditional sources. Based on these accounts more than seven churches in Lasta are established during the 6th century. Thus, they were built during the Axumite Kingdom. The expansion of the Axumite Kingdom to Lasta in the 6th century provided suitable ground for expansion of Christianity and resultant establishment of churches in the area.
There is considerable number of rock churches in Lasta, province of Northern Wollo, but it is the 11 rock hewn churches found in Lalibela which attracted the attention of researchers and are being relatively better documented, conserved, promoted and researched. These cultural treasures were declared World Heritage Property in 1980.
Our focus is not on the eleven churches in Lalibela. Rather, it's about promoting forgotten churches near Lalibela.
Other churches remained hidden in mountainous landscape of Lasta. Through time some of the churches are deteriorated because of natural and manmade causes. Little is done to document, promote, conserve and research this churches. Tangible and intangible heritages are aspects connected to the churches. Professional research will be of great importance in promoting history and culture of the period and the relics under study for it integrates tangible and intangible heritages which holds vital place in the society. It also shades light on current state and conservation activities need to be done.
Our Heritage management activities include documentation, conservation, promotion and research. These aspects are pillars in safeguarding and making heritages known to the public and academic community.
Creating public awareness, involves the community as a guardian of the heritages.
Promotion plays a pivotal role in supporting conservation efforts, bring about public understanding and increase tourist flow. Promotion of cultural heritage should be combined effort of the public, scholars, governmental and non-governmental organizations and the community.
Researches carried out by professionals are essential in the implementation of appropriate conservation projects.
Documentation is indispensable, for purposes of identification, protection, interpretation, and physical conservation of heritages. Systematic registration also plays important role in fighting theft and illicit trafficking.
Protection against theft and destruction is fundamental to the preservation of cultural heritage. Security guards and safe boxes are simple solutions.
Conserving requires not only knowledge, skill, competency and understanding of methods of conservation but the culture itself to ensure these cultural values are retained.
Heritages are means by which communities express themselves and conserve their culture, belief, history and many other aspects of life to transfer them to the next generation. Cultural heritages are important as sources of valuable scientific and historical information. Socio-cultural, economic, political, historical and aesthetical values are most often associated with heritages and conservation issues.
The local community members extremely love their heritages and they can give their life for them but it is not supported by knowledge how to preserve these beloved heritages. So establishing such kind of association to raise the awareness of the community is not an optional rather mandatory for the generation.
The presentation of the archaeological heritage to the general public is an essential method of promoting an understanding of the origins and development of modern societies. At the same time it is the most important means of promoting an understanding of the need for its protection (ICOMOS Charter for the Protection and Management of the Archaeological Heritage 1990 art. 7).