STORIA DEGLI STATI

Labilelà - Etiopia

Lalibelà è la città santa dell’antico re etiopico da cui ha preso il nome, si trova nella provincia di Wallo, nel Nord dell’Etiopia.

Offre uno spettacolo stupefacente: undici splendide chiese cristiane ciascuna scavata in un unico blocco di roccia.

Ogni chiesa è stata scolpita, non costruita, nel fianco della montagna come un’unica gigantesca scultura, con navate, corridoi, altari e persino cortili.
Il primo europeo che visitò il luogo, Francisco Alvarez, un prete portoghese del XVI secolo descrisse i monumenti come ineguagliabili.

Lalilelà - Etiopia

Dopo più di quattrocento anni, Lalibelà sbalordisce ancora; camminando per corridoi, cortili e gallerie scolpiti nella roccia, s’incontrano sempre nuovi ingressi, costruzioni e terrazze.
Non c’è dato sapere chi sia l’artefice di questo incantevole labirinto, ma non vi è dubbio che l’ispiratore sia il re Lalibelà, che regnò in Etiopia agli inizi del XIII secolo.

La città, prima della nascita del re, si chiamava Roha, fu ribattezzata successivamente Lalibelà, in suo onore.

Il sovrano apparteneva alla dinastia degli Zagwe, nobile famiglia che regnò per circa centocinquanta anni, quando la dinastia reale che vantava discendenze da Salomone e dalla regina di Saba si era temporaneamente interrotta.

Chiesa Labilelà - Etiopia

Benché non appartenesse alla stirpe più nobile, rimase fedele al Cristianesimo che l’Etiopia aveva abbracciato già dal IV secolo.
La leggenda vuole che Lalibelà abbia concepito il suo piano di una città piena di chiese, dopo che Cristo gli apparve in sogno e che gli angeli abbiano assistito i tagliapietre durante il lavoro.

Molti studiosi ritengono che gli artigiani locali siano stati assistiti da costruttori e scultori provenienti da altri paesi addirittura da Alessandria d’Egitto e da Gerusalemme.
E’ stato valutato che a Lalibelà devono essere stati scolpiti circa centomila metri cubi di roccia per creare questa meraviglia architettonica, composta da undici chiese, di cui quattro sporgono completamente dal fianco della montagna e le rimanenti sono a diversi gradi di esposizione.

Tutti gli edifici hanno la configurazione delle chiese bizantine, con la pianta basilicale e i tre ingressi di rito.
Chiesa Labilelà - Etiopia

Ogni chiesa ha però proprie caratteristiche e ogni elemento è stato scolpito nella roccia circa ottocento anni fa. I costruttori probabilmente cominciarono con lo scavare profonde trincee rettangolari sul fianco della montagna, liberando in tal modo degli enormi blocchi oblunghi di roccia.
Lavorarono poi questi blocchi grezzi, sia all’interno che all’esterno, cominciando dall’alto.

Una volta sagomato il piano superiore si cominciava a scolpire i particolari e poi si passava al piano seguente. Dovrebbe essere stato relativamente facile intagliare la roccia, essendo sufficientemente tenera, tuttavia si ignora come fossero illuminate e ventilate le lunghe gallerie mentre i lavori procedevano.

E’ possibile che grazie all’installazione di grandi specchi di bronzo la luce del sole si riflettesse eliminando così la necessità di lampade ad olio.
Alcune chiese sono nel fondo di fosse, e sono visibili con i cortili che le circondano, solo dall’alto.

Le forti piogge estive della regione, che si tramutano in alluvioni, probabilmente costituivano un pericolo per i costruttori.

Il problema fu risolto scavando in pendenza il fondo di ogni fossa, in modo che l’acqua scorresse lontana dalla zona di lavoro, inoltre un ingegnoso sistema di tetti e grondaie in pendenza eliminava il pericolo che derivava dalle piogge, canalizzando l’acqua.

Fino a qualche tempo fa, le chiese di Lalibelà erano raggiungibili solo a dorso di mulo. Alcuni tentativi di restauro furono condotti tra la Prima e la Seconda Guerra Mondiale, ma nessun lavoro fu seriamente avviato fino al 1967.
Oggi Lalibelà è raggiungibile con una strada asfaltata e ha una pista d’atterraggio. Le chiese sono visitate da folle di turisti e pellegrini, condizioni stagionali e politiche permettendo.

Un alone di mistero permane ancora. Cosa spinse il re etiopico ad attuare quell’ambizioso progetto?

Secondo una recente teoria, durante i primi anni di regno di Lalibelà le Crociate erano in pieno sviluppo e fu nel 1187 che Gerusalemme fu riconquistata dai Saraceni guidati da Saladino.

I cristiani etiopi furono disorientati dalla caduta della Città Santa in mano ai Musulmani e il loro premuroso sovrano fu spinto a fare della sua città natale un centro alternativo di pellegrinaggio e di culto, un baluardo del Cristianesimo sulle colline dell’Africa Orientale.

Può darsi che sia solo un’ipotesi , rimane un fatto però.

A Lalibelà una fede ardente, un’arte incomparabile e una straordinaria maestria tecnica, hanno contribuito ad originare un’autentica meraviglia del mondo.

118 pensiero su “LABILELA’ – ETIOPIA”
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