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Fasilides Castle, Gondar, Ethiopia

Gondar

The modern city of Gondar is admired for its many picturesque ruins in the Royal Enclosure, from which the Emperors once reigned.

Founded by Emperor Fasilidas around 1635, Gondar is famous for its medieval castles and the design and decoration of its churches. The Debra Berhan Selassie is a particular example of this and it represents a masterpiece of the Gondarene School of Art.

Gondar traditionally was divided into several neighbourhoods or quarters, Addis Alem, where the Moslem inhabitants dwelled, Kayla Meda, where the adherents of Beta Israel lived, Abun Bet, centred on the residence of the Abuna, or nominal head of the Ethiopian Church; and Qagn Bet, home to the nobility.

Fassil Ghebbi Fortress, Gondar, Ethiopia
Gondar, Ethiopia

A little more about Gondar

The most famous buildings in the city lie in the Royal Enclosure, which includes Fasilides’ castle, Iyasu’s Palace, Dawit’s Hall, a banqueting hall, stables, Mentewab’s Castle, a chancellery, library and three churches.

Downtown Gondar shows the influence of the Italian occupation of the late 1930s. The main piazza features shops and other public buildings in a simplified Italian contemporary style still characterised by the period despite later changes and, frequently, neglect.

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.

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Illona was very efficient and helpful and clearly knew the country well.

Ethiopia

No words can accurately describe the service afforded by Bridget. She solved problems that weren't of her making which resulted in saving my holiday!

Ethiopia

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