The Holy Grail

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Axel: What kind of churches were they?
Isabel: There are churches now, but they were not obviously churches then, but they are temples in the shape of a cross…
Luis: You know this…?
Isabel: And they are all hewn out of rock from the top down.
Luis: They are like huge sculptures.
Isabel: Mm.
Luis: Yeah, Sculptures. They are carved in rock.
Isabel: Mm.
Luis: They are not built buildings but…
Axel: Excavated from the rock face.
Mark: Caves?
Luis: Not exactly.
Isabel: No no no. It is a very geometric building when you look down on it.
Mark: It is cut out of the rock?
Luis: Look from a helicopter! You arrive to Lalibela for example which is where we are talking about…
Isabel: Mm.
Luis: You get to Lalibela and you see, Lalibela is a flat place with huts and palm trees, and you say, “where are the buildings?” Then you look from the air…
Mark: From the air?
Luis: …from the air and you see a huge square like I don’t know five hundred metres on every side.
Mark: M-hm.
Luis: Here is like an empty corridor of perfect flat walls and in the centre a building in the shape of a cross, for example but this building has not been built there. It is that all this around and all this stone inside the building has been taken out.
Mark: Taken out. It has been sculpt…cut out of the rock.
Luis: They are like huge sculptures rather than buildings. They are not built actually. They are carved.
Mark: Three thousand years old. Monasteries? Temples? Churches?
Isabel: They are connected with…
Luis: Monasteries.
Mark: Coptic Christian? What is the religion?
Isabel: No. Now they are Christians.
Luis: They are Christian. Ethiopian Christians.
Mark: Coptic Christians.
Luis: No. Ethiopians.
Mark: Ethiopian…I think…
Luis: It is not exactly the same
Isabel: Yeah, there is a difference. It is not quite Christian. It is almost a Zionist Christian.
Luis: No no no no! But…
Mark: But who are the people who built these buildings? What is the name of the place…where these buildings are…?
Luis: Lalibela.
Isabel: Lalibela.
Mark: What is the name of the people who built the buildings?
Luis: The Amharas. The Amharic people is the big ethnic group in Ethiopia and the one which has been on the throne for, I think… The problem is the Amharic are black, but they trace their path from King Solomon.
Isabel: That is right. They are also totally connected with King Solomon.
Mark: So there is a linguistic genetic thing (that) doesn’t link up somehow?
Luis: There is a temple …in Lalibela…in which only the priest; only one priest can accede (access) to the big relic inside and the big relic are supposed to be the Ten Commandments.
Isabel: The Holy Grail.
Luis: Well, I have heard the Ten Commandments.

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  93. Tamiru says:

    Please, try your best to see the following words and phrases again.

    The Amharic people ?

    Amharic are black ? It is not a good phrase.

  94. charming says:

    thank you very much Mark is wonderful and very very interesting.please help me iwont speak englih long

  95. Mark White says:

    Thanks so much for pointing this out. In conversation we hear things and we believe what we hear. We believe so much that is not true.

    Please tell us more about the difference between “Amhara” and “Amharic”.

  96. Andinet says:

    Lalibela found in in ethiopia amhara region not amharic .amharic is languge of the amhara people and it is offical language of the government.

  97. al says:

    its gr8.. helpful n interesting… u r doin a gr8 job marc

  98. haider says:

    Hi … all of you

    Thanks for this useful conversations but please put the script for them.

  99. simon says:

    You’re sending my pizza without even asking what toppings I want!! This is outrageous!!
    Thanks for replying so quickly. 🙂

  100. Mark White says:

    Hi Simon
    There was an error in the html code. Thanks for pointing it out. It should work now. You will receive a free pizza in the mail. Watch the letter box.
    cheers Mark

  101. simon says:

    I think the link to the audio file is missing. I’ve tried a couple of times but it says it couldn’t find it.

  102. Mark White says:

    Hi Iryn
    Did you try clicking the links in the post? Check out “Lalibela” on wikipedia.
    cheers Mark

  103. Iryn says:

    It is a very interesting story. I have wanted to see this place. Where can I get more information about Lalibela?

  104. Mark White says:

    Difficult questions in present simple tense.

    1. What kind of churches are they?
    2. What are they made out of?
    3. What do they look like?
    4. Is it a mountainous place or a hilly place?
    5. Are there any palm trees there?
    6. What is the name of the place?
    7. What is the name of the major ethnic group in Ethiopia?
    8. What is the name of the major relic?


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