The rock-hewn Church of Saint George in Lalibela. Ethiopia was one of the earliest nations to adopt Christianity in the first half of the 4th century. In the 12th and 13th centuries, in a mountainous region now called Lalibela, eleven medieval monolithic churches were carved out of rock. The layout and names of the major buildings in Lalibela are widely accepted to be a symbolic representation of Jerusalem. The churches were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.