King Lalibela

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Bet Danaghel (House of the Virgin Martyrs)

20,441 Comments · Rock-hewn churches

Extending out at the south of the Bet Maryam (The house of Mary) courtyard is the little chapel of Bet Danaghel 8.6 m. length and 3.6 m. height. It’s one of the rock-hewn church in Lalibela.

This small chapel is linked with one of the most fascinating legends of Lalibela. According to a legend recorded in the Ethiopian Book of Martyrs, the chapel was contracted in honor of 50 Christian maiden nuns murdered by the Roman ruler Julian the Apostate in the 4th century. 

Situated just outside the southern wall of the courtyard proper is the twentieth century memorial to Ras Kassa Darge (Ras Kassa was the ruler of central and northwestern Ethiopia, prior to the Italian occupation).

In the courtyard is a pool that is alleged to heal any infertile woman who is dipped into the water three times on Ethiopian. The water level is about 2m below the courtyard, so the women have to be lowered down on a harnessed rope. 

Keywords: Bet Danaghel, Virgins, Martyrs, Bet Maryam, maidens