Panorama in the Simien Mountains.
March 2014 took me on a whistle-stop northern Ethiopian excursion to Bahir Dar on the shore of Lake Tana, from there we journeyed north on to Gondar, then to the Simien Mountains and finally west to the medieval, rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.
The people, often strikingly and simply beautiful, dressed in their traditional cotton robes (gabis) stride or ride through a vast, ancient landscape filled with mythology and dramatic geography and geology.
The country oozes history out of every pore. It evokes the Old Testament at every turn, the Queen of Sheba is reputedly from the region and the Orthodox Coptic religion has added layers of legend and tradition to this biblical heritage. Everywhere people are friendly and hospitable – welcoming strangers. The atmosphere is fragrant with the heady perfumes of coffee, frankincense and the smell of ubiquitous eucalyptus trees.
Zoma Birara, Amba Giorgis, Ethiopia
Zoma Birara is a rural girl living near Amba Giorgis on the road between Gondar and Debark.
Ethiopian Boy, Gondar, Ethiopia
A rural Ethiopian boy stands in front of a dramatic landscape near Gondar, Ethiopia
Orthodox Priest, Amba Giorgis, Ethiopia
A young Orthodox priest visits a home in Amba Giorgis.
Woman, Amba Giorgis, Ethiopia
A woman by the road near Amba Giorgis.
Orthodox Priest in Doorway, Lalibela, Ethiopia
An Orthodox Priest stands in the doorway of his Lalibela church
Bete Abba Libanos Church, Lalibela, Ethiopia
Glimpsed through a hewn arch an Orthodox priest sits outside Bete Abba Libanos Church in Lalibela
Rock Hewn Crosses, Lalibela, Ethiopia
Two crosses carved out of the rock adorn a wall in Lalibela.
Bete Abba Libanos, Lalibela, Ethiopia
Two Orthodox priests outside Bete Abba Libanos Church in Lalibela
Bete Emmanuel, Lalibela, Ethiopia
Carved out of the rock Bete Emmanuel Church sits in its own hewn courtyard in Lalibela,
Ceiling of Bet Medhane Alem Church, Lalibela, Ethiopia
The interior of the Bet Medhane Alem Church Lalibela has been carved out of solid rock.
Orthodox Priest, Adam’s Tomb, Lalibela, Ethiopia
A priest, holding a traditional priest;s umbrella and cross, stands in the doorway of Adam’s Tomb in Lalibela.
Church of St George, Lalibela, Ethiopia
An Orthodox priest sits in the doorway of this remarkable monolithic cruciform church carved out of solid rock.
Doorway, Lalibela, Ethiopia
An iron studded doorway made from a single piece of wood leads into a Lalibela church.
Orthodox Priest outside Adam’s Tomb, Lalibela, Ethiopia
An Orthodox priest walks away from the entrance to Adam’s Tomb, Lalibela
Orthodox Monk, Zege Peninsula, Ethiopia
An Orthodox monk sits outside his monastery on the Zege Peninsular.
Fig Tree Roots, Gondar, Ethiopia
Fig tree roots by the bath of Fasiledes, Gondar, Ethiopia
Father, Amba Giorgis, Ethiopia
The head of the household of a family near Amba Giorgis, Ethiopia.
Cofee Picker, Zege Peninsula, Ethiopia
A woman picks ripe coffee beans on the Zege Peninsular, Lake Tana, Ethiopia.
Farmer winnowing, Amba Giorgis, Ethiopia
A farmer winnows barley in a field near Amba Giorgis, Ethiopia
Farmer, Amba Giorgis, Ethiopia
A rural farmer on the road her Amba Giorgis.
Orthodox Woman, Lalibella, Ethiopia
A traditionally tattooed Orthodox Lalibelan woman wears an elaborate cross.
Portrait, Zege Peninsular, Ethiopia
Portrait of a child on the Zege Peninsular
Street Vendor, Gondar, Ethiopia
Market Trader in Gondar.
Gelada monkey, Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
Gelada monkeys live on the slopes and the perilously steep sides of the Simien Mountains. Often mislabeled as baboons they are in fact monkeys. The males’ pink chests change to dramatic red in the breeding season.