It’s really quite amazing how much effort the heavenly inspired will go to, in order to build incredibly astounding places of worship. If you travel to the northern part of Ethiopia, however, you will see just how striking these efforts can be. Lalibela is home to 11 UNESCO-listed rock-hewn churches and, remarkably, their exact date of construction remains a mystery even to this day. The Ellora Cave Temples of north-western India are likewise revered for their intricate carvings and unbelievable extensive size, and in the Near East is where you can cast your eyes on arguably the most striking rock-hewn temple of all: the Treasury in Petra. This ancient Jordanian city and worship ground, first established in 300BC, is one of the most visually stunning wonders on earth and home to several temples and burial grounds, hewn entirely out of the side of the burnt-red sandstone hills. The Treasury’s facade stands at 39 metres and is over 25 metres wide.

Rock Hewn Churches of Goreme, Cappadocia

Rock Hewn Churches in the open air museum of Goreme, CappadociaFlickr: Moyan Brenn

Goa Gajah, Indonesia

Goa Gajah, Indonesia

Pancha Rathas, Mahabalipuram, India

Pancha Rathas, Mahabalipuram, IndiaFlickr: Nigel Swales

Dazu Rock Carvings, China

Dazu Rock Carvings, China

Palais Ideal, France

Palais Ideal, France

The Church of St. George in Lalibela Ethiopia

The Church of St. George in Lalibela Ethiopia

Geghard Monastery, Armenia

Geghard Monastery, ArmeniaFlickr: Sebastian Preuber

Ad Deir, The Monastery Temple of Petra, Jordan

Ad Deir, The Monastery Temple of Petra, Jordan

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