Art and Architecture
English edition  
November  2107
536 pp.
875 color illus. 
25.4X34.3 cm
ISBN 9789774168437
For sale worldwide



The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom Mary Anne Fitzgerald
Philip Marsden
Edited by Carolyn Ludwig
Morris Jackson

A spectacular full-color celebration of the extraordinary architectural heritage of the roof of Africa

The ancient Aksumite Kingdom, now a part of Ethiopia, was among the first in the world to adopt Christianity as the official state religion. In AD 340 King Ezana commissioned the construction of the imposing basilica of St. Mary of Tsion. It was here, the Ethiopians say, that Menelik, son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, brought the Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments. By the fifth century, nine saints from Byzantium were spreading the faith deep into the mountainous countryside, and over the next ten centuries a series of spectacular churches were either built or excavated out of solid rock, all of them in regular use to this day. Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has the best known cluster, but the northern region of Tigray, less well known and more remote, has many churches that are architectural masterpieces of the basilical type. Ethiopia: The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom traces the broad sweep of ecclesiastic history, legend, art, and faith in this sub-Saharan African kingdom as seen through the prism of sixty-six breathtaking churches, unveiling the secrets of their medieval murals, their colorful history, and the rich panoply of their religious festivals, all illustrated with more than eight hundred superb color photographs by some of the most celebrated international photographers of traditional cultures. This magnificent, large-format, full-color volume is the most comprehensive celebration yet published of Ethiopia’s extraordinary Christian heritage. Ethiopia is the third book on iconic places of worship published by Ludwig Publishing and the American University in Cairo Press, following the bestselling success of The Churches of Egypt and The History and Religious Heritage of Old Cairo.

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Mary Anne Fitzgerald has covered eastern Africa for The Economist, the Financial Times, and The Sunday Times of London, and is the author of eleven books on Africa, including the bestselling Nomad: One Woman’s Journey into the Heart of Africa. She lives in Kenya. Philip Marsden is the award-winning author of a number of books of travel, history, and fiction, including The Chains of Heaven: An Ethiopian Romance and The Barefoot Emperor: An Ethiopian Tragedy. He lives in England. Nigel Pavitt MBE OGW has written five books on Africa illustrated with his own photographs. They include Kenya: The First Explorers, Samburu, Turkana: Kenya’s Nomads of the Jade Sea, and Africa’s Great Rift Valley. He lives in Kenya. Frederic Courbet is a Belgian photographer and cameraman whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, Time magazine, and Newsweek. He lives in Australia. Justus Mulinge is a Kenyan photographer and post-production specialist who lives in Nairobi. Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher have recorded in photographs over two hundred African cultures and produced fifteen acclaimed books, including Maasai, Africa Adorned, African Ark, African Ceremonies, and Dinka: Legendary Cattle Keepers of Sudan. Carolyn Ludwig is the author of Jewels in Our Crown: Churches of Los Angeles, and editor of The Churches of Egypt (AUC Press, 2007) and The History and Religious Heritage of Old Cairo (AUC Press, 2013). Morris Jackson is the designer of Jewels in Our Crown: Churches of Los Angeles, and The Churches of Egypt (AUC Press, 2007) and co-editor and designer of The History and Religious Heritage of Old Cairo (AUC Press, 2013).

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“This is a unique book written by world authorities on the history and culture of Ethiopia. The photographs bring the sites to life and capture the hearts of us all. I was in awe as I laid eyes on the rock-carved churches of Lalibela, and I was even more impressed by King Lalibela’s vision in creating a New Jerusalem . . . truly a vision of a great king. The inspiring photographs and descriptions of the churches bring to light the simplicity, veneration, and godliness of these places. This is a call for readers to go visit Ethiopia, and it will surely make this country one of the top religious tourism destinations in the world.”—Zahi Hawass, UN ambassador for Global Cultural Heritage//endoftext//endoftext“The publication of this book . . . makes accessible as never before the stunning artwork that embellishes so many of these churches, and which is often unseen by visitors because of the constraints of respectful use. It will also serve to acquaint a wider public with the extent and the quality of these extraordinary edifices. . . . The book’s stunning photography captures a life that few outsiders have witnessed, and presents these places in all their splendor while also recording the daily observances of the faithful. . . . It is a labor of love, and also a precious testimony for all who would like to learn about beautiful places that are richly enhanced by the traditions that they preserve.”—from the Foreword by Bonnie Burnham, President Emerita, World Monuments Fund//endoftext//endoftext“Ethiopia: The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom is a compelling visual testament to the power and presence of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. This beautifully designed book is chock full of stunning photographs of architecture, paintings, manuscripts, and people that, accompanied by informative captions, provide an extraordinary introduction to the distinctive practices of one of the world’s oldest but least known Christian denominations.”—Raymond Silverman, University of Michigan

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