The basilica church of E*makina Mädhane Aläm, one of five known churches in Lasta to be built in a cave, is related through its architecture to the church of Ye*mrähannä Kre*stos (where e* stands for reverted 'e') and through its extensive program of mural paintings to the church of Gännätä Maryam. It bears witness to an early stage in the development of the sanctuary type which occupied the full width of the building in order to accommodate additional altars. Both the expanded sanctuary and the murals point to a date of construction in the late 13th century. The walls imitate in stone the alternating timber and stuccoed split-stone layers of Ye*mrähannä Kre*stos. The interior wooden surfaces are painted throughout with geometric motifs. The church may well have been founded by Yekuno Amlak, who sought legitimacy for his new regime by borrowing from old forms while at the same time supporting the Church in its establishment of new ones.
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