The Gondar Palace

Historical Route

Welcome to Gondar Medieval Capital of Africa
Gonder was founded by King Fasiledes in 1636, it was the capital of Ethiopia for nearly 200 years, reflected by its castle compound, that include number of palace. The most famous buildings in Gonder, lie in the seventeenth century Royal Enclosure including: Fasilides Castle, Mentewabs Castle, Iyasus Palace and Dawits Hall Palace.

The architecture is reflecting a number of influences, mainly Axumite, Portuguese and East Indian. The Castle upper storey offers panoramic views and Lake Tana, Simien Mountains Park are easily accessible from Gondar town.
Gondar is located just 50km north of Lake Tana and 700km north of Addis Ababa is nestle in the foothills of the Semien Mountains on altitude of 2200m above the sea.


Gondar Castle trip

Gondar remained a centre for culture and trade for two centuries, to 1864. Near Gandar lie Fasiladas Bath, home to an annual ceremony where it is blessed and then opened for bathing. The Qusquam complex was built by Empress Mentewab the eighteenth century Ras Mikael Sehul's Palaces. Besides the famous palaces, Gondar is known for the "Bath Palace of Emperor Fasiladas", built just outside the city in the valley of Qaha, which is still used for the annual Timket or Epiphany, the baptism celebrations.

Church of Debre Birhan Selassie "Trinity Mountain of Light" was built by the grandson of Fasiladas, Emperor Eyasu II known as Birhan Seged. The church is famous for the mural paintings on the ceiling. At the Debre Birhan Church in Shewa, a miraculous apparition of the Holy Light of God, is said to have occured during the reign of Emperor Zera Yacob. In exchange for the right of using its name, Gondar church paid the Shewan church an annual tribute.

When the Mahdist Dervishes of the Sudan sacked the city of Gondar in 1888, they burned down every church, except Debre Birhan Selassie. According to the legend, when the Mahdist Dervishes approached the church, a swarm of bees decended on the compound and kept the soldiers back, the Archangel Michael himself stood before the wooden gates with a flaming sword, to protect the church.

Gondar Bathing Palace Gondar Church Gondar Gondar

The Gandar was sacked several times, after the city was destroyed by Sudanese Dervishes invaders in the 1880s, its population dwindled, did not grow until 20th century. Gonder was occupied by the armies of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from 1936 to 1941.
City center shows the influence of the Italian occupation, main piazza features shops, a cinema and other public buildings in a simplified Italian style. Italian villas and flats in nearby quarter, that once housed occupation officials distinctive of the period.

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