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Although the exterior of the church is extraordinary, the real treat is when you step inside. After taking your shoes off and crossing the door, you are also crossing into another time, almost another dimension.
If you are lucky enough and there are no other tourists around, you will feel the peace of the church. Each church is guarded by a priest, that is usually sitting quietly in a corner but that sometimes can show you some of the relics kept inside. If that’s the case, giving a tip is the polite thing to do.
As I said before, you shouldn’t use the flash inside the church since the light damages the ancient paintings, but you can take pictures setting a high ISO setting and holding the camera still. The interior is pretty dark but I wouldn’t recommend using a torch, it’s better to enjoy the atmosphere as it was intended, inviting to silence and introspection. The light that comes from the outside through the small windows and doors should be enough to see the paintings and carvings. Some churches also have fluorescent lights, which kind of spoils the ambience, but I guess it is the best solution they could came up with to illuminate the dark interior.
This particular church has a combination of fresco paintings on the wall, rock carving, and free standing canvas paintings. Different kind of crosses and symbols share the interior (Maltese crosses, stars of David, etc.).
There are complex religious meanings behind each decoration which I’m not able to explain here, but a good guide can help you discover them.

I just found this cool panorama taken by Spanish photographer Bernard Custard of the interior of Bet Medhane Alem!!
Switch to full screen mode and zoom to see the awesome paintings on the ceiling:

Bet Medhane Alem panorama