Derek Schuurman
Derek Schuurman Product Manager Madagascar and Alternative Africa
"Ethiopia offers a radically different African experience - the historical sites, unusual wildlife and the people - notably of the South Omo - are utterly fascinating."

Gondar Holidays

The former capital of Ethiopia, Gondar is noteworthy for its medieval castles, Timkat celebrations and the unique church of Debre Berhane Selassie. The Emperor Fasilidas founded Gondar as his imperial capital in 1636. It was the capital and a great commercial centre from the 17th to the mid-19th century.

Today, visitors come to see the Imperial Compound, with the enchanting 'Fasalidas' castles still in good condition. At the 'Bath of King Fasilidas', during the Timkat (Epiphany) celebrations, a nearby river is diverted to fill an area the size of a small swimming pool and worshippers plunge into the water in a re-enactment of Christ's baptism in the River Jordan.

Although many of Gondar's churches were destroyed during the Mahdist invasion from Sudan in the 1880s, one particularly fine example, Debre Berhane Selassie, escaped. According to legend, a swarm of bees diverted the invaders. The walls and ceiling are covered with vivid murals: the angels' faces on the ceiling have become a common motif in Ethiopian design.

Another site of interest is the ruined palace of Queen Mentewab at Kweskwam. The Mini Fogera is worth visiting in the evening for Asmari music and national food.

Gondar is also the gateway town to the Simyen Mountains National Park.

Read more about Gondar

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Holiday Type
Total Holidays: 3      
Ethiopia Timkat Small Group Tour 2018
  • Culture & History
  • Small Group Tours
From £3135 per person
13 day holiday
Flights included
See the full trip
Ethiopia
The three-day festival of Timkat is Ethiopia's most spectacular event and on this small group tour you'll also see the country's top highlights including Lalibela, Bahir Dar, Simien Mountains, Gondar and Axum.
Classic Ethiopia Historical Tour
  • Culture & History
From £3225 per person
11 day holiday
Flights included
See the full trip
Ethiopia
Discover Ethiopia's most spectacular sites of historical and cultural significance on this private guided individual tour.
Discover Ethiopia 16-day Private Tour
  • Culture & History
  • Wildlife
From £4970 per person
16 day holiday
Flights included
See the full trip
Ethiopia
This extensive private tour is perfect for nature enthusiasts who also want to be immersed in Ethiopia's culture and famous historical attractions.
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