In 2011 I saw only two of the several famous Gonder churches, St George and St Michael -- and was allowed inside only St Michael.
In 2012 I visited the UNESCO "world heritage" Debre Birhan Selassie church. (My photos would not load.)
Gonder was Ethiopia's capital from the mid-17th to the mid-19th centuries. Prior to that time the monarchs had had no fixed capital, but had moved from place to place usually each year. Once settled in Gondar, the rulers built castles and other structures -- a banquet hall, churches -- in the "royal enclosure." That compound is what causes some to call Gonder "the Camelot of Africa."
The buildings were damaged during the Muslim attacks of the mid-19th century (after the capital had been moved to Addis Ababa) and again during the Italian occupation of 1936-40. The Italians located their military headquarters in the Enclosure; that led to the British bombing of first and grandest of the castles, that of King (or Emperor) Fasilides.
As a procession of church dignitaries was coming down a hill toward the main street, groups of boys and young men -- 20 to 40 at a time -- ran up and down the street, waving sticks and chanting something. (My guide said only that their words were "religious." I might have guessed that.)