U.S. Embassy Highlights Support for Cultural Preservation at Book Launch – “Ethiopia: The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom”

The Ambassador of the United States of America Michael A. Rayner hosted a reception for the launch of the book “Ethiopia: The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom.” Minister of Culture and Tourism Dr. Hirut Woldemariam and His Holiness Abune Matthias attended the launch along with Ambassadors, artists, photographers, scholars and journalists. The book has 544 pages of more than 800 spectacular photographs of churches and monasteries of Lalibela, Tigray, Gondar and Tana.

Ambassador Rayner, in his remarks, stated that “Cultural heritage endures as a reminder of the contributions and historical experiences of humanity,” adding that this book “in tracing the history, legends, art, and faith of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, covers the churches and monasteries of Aksum and Tigray, Lalibela and Lasta, Gondar and Lake Tana, describing in rich and vibrant detail the architecture, colorful decorations, and important Orthodox religious festivals of Ethiopia.  It is destined, I am sure, to significantly boost worldwide awareness and appreciation of these amazing treasures, and I expect it will motivate many more people to come and see these magnificent paces for themselves”.

The U.S. Embassy has invested $1.5 million to support nine projects throughout Ethiopia through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.  Those projects include the recent restoration of two thirteenth century rock-hewn UNESCO World Heritage churches in Lalibela – Bieta Gabriel-Rafael churches.  The Embassy remains committed to continue efforts to preserve Ethiopia’s deep and rich cultural history for future generations.