Carved from solid red volcanic rock in the 12th century, it is the most well known and last built of the eleven churches in the Lalibela area, and has been referred to as the "Eighth Wonder of the World". The dimensions of the trench are 25 meters by 25 meters by 30 meters, and there is a small baptismal pool outside the church, which stands in an artificial trench.
According to Ethiopian cultural history, Bete Giyorgis was built after King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela of the Zagwe dynasty had a vision in which he was instructed to construct the church; Saint George and God have both been referred to as the one who gave him the instructions.
As of 2006, Lalibela is still a pilgrimage site for members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church; the church itself is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela".
Watch a film about Lalibela and its rock-hewn churches: