In the twelfth and thirteenth century, Roha in the Lasta District came to hold sway as the Aksumite Empire began to crumble.The Zagwe Dynasty, which ruled Lalibela for more than a century, was given a new name in honor of King Lalibela (1181–1221).
Lalibela the Great is credited with building eleven rockhewn churches. The monolithic buildings are connected by a labyrinth of tunnels and passages that lead to hermit caves and catacombs. They were carved from a sloping mass of red volcanic scoria, which was then covered in dark grey basalt.
Some of them are of the basilica variety, emulating earlier architectural styles and displaying archaic traits. Two of them have intriguing wall murals and carvings on them.