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Pictures | Tue Aug 21, 2012 | 11:06pm IST

Ethiopian rock churches

<p>Orthodox Christian pilgrims attend Sunday mass at Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela, Ethiopia August 19, 2012.  REUTERS/Siegfried Modola </p>

Orthodox Christian pilgrims attend Sunday mass at Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela, Ethiopia August 19, 2012. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

Orthodox Christian pilgrims attend Sunday mass at Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela, Ethiopia August 19, 2012. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

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<p>A Christian Orthodox faithful stands outside Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela April 23, 2011. REUTERS/Flora Bagenal </p>

A Christian Orthodox faithful stands outside Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela April 23, 2011. REUTERS/Flora Bagenal

A Christian Orthodox faithful stands outside Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela April 23, 2011. REUTERS/Flora Bagenal

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<p>People stand around Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, after the morning mass September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti </p>

People stand around Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, after the morning mass September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

People stand around Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, after the morning mass September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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<p>Orthodox Christian pilgrims pray by a wall at Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela August 19, 2012.  REUTERS/Siegfried Modola </p>

Orthodox Christian pilgrims pray by a wall at Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela August 19, 2012. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

Orthodox Christian pilgrims pray by a wall at Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela August 19, 2012. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

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<p>A Christian Orthodox monk leaves a rock-hewn church after priers in Lalibela, in this September 16, 2007 file photo.  REUTERS/Radu Sigheti/Files </p>

A Christian Orthodox monk leaves a rock-hewn church after priers in Lalibela, in this September 16, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti/Files

A Christian Orthodox monk leaves a rock-hewn church after priers in Lalibela, in this September 16, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti/Files

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<p>A tourist takes pictures in front of Saint Gabriel, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007.  REUTERS/Radu Sigheti </p>

A tourist takes pictures in front of Saint Gabriel, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

A tourist takes pictures in front of Saint Gabriel, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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<p>Christian Orthodox priest Mesganaw Tarkgn raises an ancient cross in a picture-perfect pose inside a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, in this September 16, 2007 file photo.   REUTERS/Radu Sigheti/Files </p>

Christian Orthodox priest Mesganaw Tarkgn raises an ancient cross in a picture-perfect pose inside a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, in this September 16, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti/Files

Christian Orthodox priest Mesganaw Tarkgn raises an ancient cross in a picture-perfect pose inside a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, in this September 16, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti/Files

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<p>A Christian Orthodox priest walks past rock recipients used to collect holy water inside a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007.  REUTERS/Radu Sigheti </p>

A Christian Orthodox priest walks past rock recipients used to collect holy water inside a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

A Christian Orthodox priest walks past rock recipients used to collect holy water inside a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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<p>A walking stick is left on a wall next to a corridor connecting two rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti </p>

A walking stick is left on a wall next to a corridor connecting two rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

A walking stick is left on a wall next to a corridor connecting two rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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<p>Orthodox Christian pilgrims pray at Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela August 19, 2012.  REUTERS/Siegfried Modola </p>

Orthodox Christian pilgrims pray at Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela August 19, 2012. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

Orthodox Christian pilgrims pray at Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela August 19, 2012. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

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<p>A Christian Orthodox monk prays outside a rock-hewn church after priers in Lalibela, in this September 16, 2007 file photo.    REUTERS/Radu Sigheti/Files</p>

A Christian Orthodox monk prays outside a rock-hewn church after priers in Lalibela, in this September 16, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti/Files

A Christian Orthodox monk prays outside a rock-hewn church after priers in Lalibela, in this September 16, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti/Files

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<p>A Christian Orthodox priest reads the Bible inside a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti </p>

A Christian Orthodox priest reads the Bible inside a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

A Christian Orthodox priest reads the Bible inside a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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<p>A man walks in the yard of a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007.  REUTERS/Radu Sigheti </p>

A man walks in the yard of a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

A man walks in the yard of a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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<p>A Christian Orthodox priest reads the Bible at the entrance of a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007.  REUTERS/Radu Sigheti </p>

A Christian Orthodox priest reads the Bible at the entrance of a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

A Christian Orthodox priest reads the Bible at the entrance of a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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<p>People pray during the morning mass at Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007.  REUTERS/Radu Sigheti</p>

People pray during the morning mass at Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

People pray during the morning mass at Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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<p>A Christian Orthodox priest raises an ancient painted Bible in a picture-perfect pose inside a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, in this September 16, 2007 file photo.      REUTERS/Radu Sigheti/Files</p>

A Christian Orthodox priest raises an ancient painted Bible in a picture-perfect pose inside a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, in this September 16, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti/Files

A Christian Orthodox priest raises an ancient painted Bible in a picture-perfect pose inside a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, in this September 16, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti/Files

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<p>A woman stands at the doorsteps of Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007.  REUTERS/Radu Sigheti </p>

A woman stands at the doorsteps of Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

A woman stands at the doorsteps of Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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<p>A Christian Orthodox monk leaves a rock-hewn church after priers in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti </p>

A Christian Orthodox monk leaves a rock-hewn church after priers in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

A Christian Orthodox monk leaves a rock-hewn church after priers in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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<p>A woman arrives for the morning mass at Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti </p>

A woman arrives for the morning mass at Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

A woman arrives for the morning mass at Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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<p>Christian Orthodox faithfuls attend a midnight Easter mass inside Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela April 23, 2011.  REUTERS/Flora Bagenal </p>

Christian Orthodox faithfuls attend a midnight Easter mass inside Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela April 23, 2011. REUTERS/Flora Bagenal

Christian Orthodox faithfuls attend a midnight Easter mass inside Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela April 23, 2011. REUTERS/Flora Bagenal

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<p>Christian Orthodox pilgrims arrive at Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela April 23, 2011.  REUTERS/Flora Bagenal </p>

Christian Orthodox pilgrims arrive at Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela April 23, 2011. REUTERS/Flora Bagenal

Christian Orthodox pilgrims arrive at Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela April 23, 2011. REUTERS/Flora Bagenal

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<p>People stand during the morning mass around Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, the morning mass September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti </p>

People stand during the morning mass around Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, the morning mass September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

People stand during the morning mass around Saint George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela, the morning mass September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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<p>A man stands near Saint George, one of the 11 rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, during the morning mass September 16, 2007.  REUTERS/Radu Sigheti </p>

A man stands near Saint George, one of the 11 rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, during the morning mass September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

A man stands near Saint George, one of the 11 rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, during the morning mass September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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<p>People pray around Saint George, one of the 11 rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, September 16, 2007, an ancient site that draws tens of thousands of foreign tourists every year.  REUTERS/Radu Sigheti </p>

People pray around Saint George, one of the 11 rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, September 16, 2007, an ancient site that draws tens of thousands of foreign tourists every year. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

People pray around Saint George, one of the 11 rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, September 16, 2007, an ancient site that draws tens of thousands of foreign tourists every year. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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