Date of Submission

Spring 5-7-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Marietta Monaghan



Revitalizing the heritage site of the rock-hewn church of Lalibela is counted as revitalizing a city because the site is the biggest heritage site. It is found in the Amhara region of north Ethiopia, and the properties were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978. Eleven churches were found at the site, and all of them were carved out of the living rock in the 12th century, not constructed traditionally. The churches are grouped into three and connected by a walking trail, tunnel, and trench. Groups of churches have interior and exterior spaces, and their floors, roofs, walls, columns, windows, and doors were formed from monolithic rocks. Out of eleven churches, the Bete Giorgis church is recognized as the eighth wonder of the world, and the Bete Medhani Alem church is recognized as the biggest rock-cut church in the world. This functional and huge heritage site has a rugged landscape, and it is old and undeveloped. While the churches have been providing service, have been visited by foreign and local visitors, and have generated income, the income only covers the administrative costs of the churches, with no surpluses for further development. It is not easy to revitalize this huge heritage site with a single project. How can we revitalize this kind of big heritage site? My thesis will get the answer to this question.

It is possible to revitalize the whole heritage site in the long run by starting to revitalize a specific area of the site. What would be best to do with the selected size for the heritage site with many problems to revitalize the entire area in the future? It should be a visitor center. Suppose the visitor center is built first. In that case, the heritage site will be developed and revitalized quickly because the visitor center increases the number of visitors by many times and generates income.

The thesis revitalization design will be a new visitor center, and it will have an access road to connect with Bete Georgis. The thesis design will be supported by historical research on the Lalibela churches and other literature reviews precedent studies and analyses. The thesis design will consider the Lalibela church’s exterior shape, interior design, structure, drainage system, and 2D drawing and patterns.



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Architecture Commons