Perched at over 2200 meters above sea level on Mount Simmiens, Gondar, an ancient imperial city, is famous for its medieval castles and churches. Former capital of Ethiopia from 1632 to 1855, this city was invaded by Muslims and Turks, hence the presence of fortification buildings.
The latter, as well as the city itself, have been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1979.
Among the architectural treasures of Gondar, there is the palace of Fasilides, the best preserved of all palaces, a place of baptism for believers. Every January 19, Ethiopians celebrate the Epiphany, called “Timkat”, where on this occasion, the basin is filled with water from the nearby river. The devotees gather around this basin to renew their baptismal promises and purify their souls.
Gondar is also known as the most important ecclesiastical training center of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and houses nearly 40 Orthodox churches.