Historic Ethiopia trip from Gondar to Axum via Debre Damos
January 3,4,5 - 2011
The tour in Ethiopia continues with a visit to places of historical and religious interest, starting from the monastery of Debre Damos, reached only by climbing a rope of 15 meters, and continuing to Axum, the city of the Stelae and the Ark of the Covenant, before reaching Gondar with its picturesque Royal Enclosure and the beautiful church of Debre Berhan Selassie.
The day begins with a visit to the monastery of Debre Damos, built on top of a cliff and accessible only by climbing a long rope. The entrance to the monastery, founded in the thirteenth century, is forbidden to women. The surrounding area is the home of around 200 monks.
One of our drivers trying to climb towards the monastery of Debre Damos ... but soon after, it needs to be rescued!
Meanwhile, an Ethiopian girl attends the curious scene...
I do not even try to climb up the rope, instead I prefer to enjoy the splendid panorama, visible from 2800 meters above sea level, surrounding the monastery of Debre Damos. Here, lot of Euphorbia, with their mature fruits, grow.
The trip through northern Ethiopia continues to Axum, the town of stelae and the place known for keeping the Ark of the Covenant.
A beautiful Cordon Bleu, photographed in Axum on a conifer.
The tour in Axum starts to what should be the ancient ruins of the castle of Queen Sheba, but there is no evidence about the real history of these ruins. Anyway, the site reveals interesting, even if the ruins' conditions are not optimal and it needs a little fantasy to imagine how this building was originally.
The ancient Queen of Sheba's bath, currently used as a water reservoir by the people of Axum.
Axum pictures. Next, we visit the famous Northern Stelae Park where there are a dozen stelae as high as 33 meters. It is believed that the stelae may have been built to mark graves, as recent archaeological discoveries have identified a number of underground rooms resembling tombs.
The journey into historical Ethiopia continues south, passing the beautiful mountains of Simien National Park, having suggestive shapes.
We arrive in Gondar (sometimes written Gonder), where we visit the picturesque Royal Citadel (or Royal Enclosure / Fasil Ghebbi) dated back to the seventeenth century. It was the ancient house of the emperors and the site is included in the UNESCO list of historical interest places.
The whole complex of Gondar Royal Citadel consists of a series of palaces and castles, sometimes inaccurately called the "Castle of Gondar"or "Castles of Gondar".
A room inside the Fasilides castle, part the Royal Enclosure in Gondar.
Photos of Gondar. The buildings that make up the Royal Citadel of Gondar, are: - Fasilides castle, which takes its name from the emperor of the same name, who founded Gondar in 1635- Iyasu palace- Mentewab Castle- a registry, library and three churches All buildings are placed in a fairytale setting among trees and lush gardens .
The tour in Gondar continues with a visit to Debre Berhan Selassie church, known for its splendid frescoes and paintings contained inside.
The frescos inside the church of Debre Berhan Selassie are dated back mainly to the seventeenth century and are all in excellent conditions, with bright colors.
What catches immediately the attention is without doubt the odd ceiling, where the faces representing a sequence of 104 angels with the eyes that seems to look at you.
The ceiling of the Debre Berhan Selassie Church in Gondar is a true work of art.
The upper part of the walls are evenly covered with frescoes depicting biblical scenes, as well as a very complete compendium of all the saints, martyrs, and some scenes from Ethiopian traditions.
The eyes of these faces seem to fix those who observe them.
More photos of the interior of Debre Berhan Selassie Church in Gondar.
Cherubs painted around the doors.
After the tour of Gondar, the journey in Ethiopia continues south, through the mountains and countryside on the plateau.