Northern Ethiopia is rich in remnants of ancient civilisations. Christianity was introduced in the 4th century and Islam in the 7th.
Early architecture and articles found in this region have links with ancient Egypt and the Middle East. A historical tour of northern Ethiopia includes Axum, the ancient capital and seat of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church; Lalibela and its rock-hewn 12th century churches; Gondar with its Royal Enclosure, the capital from the 17th century; 18th century Lake Tana monasteries and the Blue Nile Falls.
Northern Ethiopia is dominated by the Abyssinian Highlands with their lush rainforests and grasslands at an altitude rising to over 4,600 metres (15,000ft) in the Simien Mountains. Erosion caused by winds over millenia have carved individual rock structures, such that the mountains are called “God’s chess board.” Ras Dashen is the highest peak at 4550m (14,928ft). The Blue Nile Gorge extends from Lake Tana in a long curve to the Sudanese border, where it joins the White Nile at Khartoum.