Siemen Mountains

The Siemien Mountain massif is a broad plateau, cut off to the north and west by an enormous single crag over 60 kilometers long. To the south, the tableland slopes gently down to 2,200 meters, divided by gorges 1,000 meters deep which can take more than two days to cross. Insufficient geological time has elapsed to smooth the contours of the crags and buttresses of hardened basalt.

Within this spectacular splendor live the Walia (Abyssinian) ibex, Simien red fox and Gelada baboon - all endemic to Ethiopia - as well as the Hamadryas baboon, klipspringer and bushbuck. Birds such as the lammergeyer, augur buzzard, Verreaux's eagle, kestrel and falcon also soar above this mountain retreat.

Twenty kilometers north-east of Gondar, the Siemien Mountains National Park covers 179 square kilometers of highland area at an average elevation of 3,300 meters. Ras Dashen, at 4,620 meters the highest peak in Ethiopia, stands adjacent to the park.

The Simien escarpments, which are often compared to the Grand Canyon in the United States of America, have been adopted by Unesco as a World Heritage Site.

The people and culture of Ethiopia

Ethiopia has been called a rich cultural mosaic due to the eighty different languages and dialects.

The North and the center part of the country has got different Semitic languages like Tigrinya, Guraginya and the official national language Amharic are spoken.

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Festivals

Christmas is also one of the biggest ceremonies which fall on 7 January.The celebration of Timket or Epiphany, on the 19 January is probably the biggest festival of the year. On the eve of Timket, with great ceremony the sacred tabot (the replica of the ark of the covenant) is taken from each church by the priests up to the central area where the ceremony twill take place.

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