The Zague dynasty was founded by Mera Tekla Haimanot after the downfall of the Axumite kingdom in the 10th century. Roha was the former name of Lalibela where it is situated in the central plateau of Lasta province in the north eastern part of the country at a distant of 642km from Addis Ababa.
Although historians have different speculation with regard to the exact number of kings who have ruled the country in the dynasty, Mera Tekla Haimanot, Yemrehan Kirstos, Harbe, Lalibela, Nakutola’ab, and Yetbark were notable kings. Besides Yemrhan Kirstos, Lalibela and Nakitola’ab were priest kings. So far all kings had their own legacy to the country in their season but Lalibela’s was exceedingly great. According to the traditions of Lasta if swarms of bees are surrounding while someone get born, it prophesies the great future of the new baby. Likewise apart other kings of Zague dynasty, the swarms of bees were surrounded King Lalibela when he was born. Still legends narrate; Lalibela was in Roha when his elder brother ruled the country for certain years. In the mean time as a result this prophesy of his brother trembled and has poisoned his younger brother and led him to died-sleep for three days. However in these three days an angle of Lord took up his soul to heaven and showed him how the heavenly Jerusalem look like in which he was going curved out too.
King Lalibela ruled the country from 1181-1221. During his reign, he built 11 rock hewn churches in three categories;
- Monolithic Rock hewn churches: Among the 11 Lalibela complex churches four of them are monolithic and no place in the country seeks such a church. This type of church is chiseled out from one block of rock and detached from the main rock in all rounds. Hence the church remains in the middle apart the main rock. Bete-Medhanialem, Bete-Giorgis, Bete-Mariam, and Bete-Amanuel are the four monolithic churches.
- Semi-Monolithic Rock hewn churches: These types of churches are also chiseled out from one single block of rock and attached only in one side with the main rock. Bete –Gebriel, Rafael, Denagil are some of the semi monolithic churches in Lalibela complex.
- Cave church: These sorts of churches are curved out and detached only in one side of the main rock. Only Aba Libanos church is a cave church. Most of the Cave churches are located in Tigray rock hewn churches.