Hike: Easy, 1 hour to reach the church, no climbing.
Church Structure: Only partially rock-hewn.
Paintings: Vivid, end of 18thcentury beginning of the 19th.
Views: No views but beautiful landscapes and farms.
What I like: Great for people who can’t do hard hikes.
Overall Experience: Top ten.
This church can be found past Maryam Korkor on the way to the city of Wukro. Turn right off the main dirt road onto another dirt road for fifteen minutes. Last time I went to Maryam Papasetti it was almost impossible to access during the rains, even in a four-wheel-drive truck (hopefully the roads have improved).
This was one of the first rock-hewn churches I went to when my parents were out for a visit. There is a meandering trail through fields, past stone huts and shepherds dressed in white, leading you to the church tucked under an orchard of palms and shaded by towering cliffs. To me this church, which is built into the side of the cliff, is more about the experience of getting there than the actual church.
Only the Holy of Holies is completely rock-hewn at Maryam Papasetti. Inside you will find different styles of paintings. In the entrance of the church are some colorful paintings on canvas done very recently. Don’t worry, these aren’t the main attraction. In the second room you will find beautiful paintings depicting Old and New testament stories which you will really enjoy.
There are some discrepancies over when this church and the paintings were completed. Some scholars say 17thcentury but most agree it was end of the 18thand beginning of the 19thcenturies, dating it to the time period of Basa Dengyes, who was the governor of the district and believed to have been the patron of this church.
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