Visit the Castles of Gonder Ethiopia

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Visit the Castles of Gonder Ethiopia

Another popular place to visit in Ethiopia, Gonder offers a chance to explore wonderfully preserved 17th-century African buildings. The early morning offers the best views of the castles, palaces, and other monuments; a lasting legacy of Ethiopia’s opulent but brutal past.

Not surprisingly, this is a UNESCO world heritage site. Be sure to include the oldest and most impressive building – Fasiladas’ Palace – on your tour of Gonder.

History of the Gonder

Gondar was the seat of government for the Solomonic Dynasty (descended from the biblical Solomon and Sheba), throughout the 16th -18th century.

Gondar’s fertile lands and strategic placement is one of the reasons why Emperor Fasiladas chose this location as his seat of power in 1636. As legend has it, he was led by a buffalo to a pool by the Angered. Once there, a wise hermit announced to the Emperor he would locate his capital there. And so did Fasilidas. He filled in the pool and built his castle right there.

Emperor Fasiladas went on to build a total of 7 churches and the 5 emperors who succeeded him followed suit by building even more churches and palaces, some of which still stand today.

Best things to do in Gonder

Gondar, or Gonder, is a city in northern Ethiopia. It’s known for the walled Fasil Ghebbi fortress and palace compound, once the seat of Ethiopian emperors. Dominating it is the immense 17th-century castle of Emperor Fasilides, which combines Portuguese, Indian, and local architectural styles. Outside the complex is Debre Berhan Selassie church, with an interior of elaborate murals, including a ceiling made of faces.

How to get to Gonder

You can fly to Gonder from Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Airlines. The journey, if direct, is no more than an hour. You can also fly to Gonder from the city of Axum.

Best Time of Year to Visit Gondar

If you like to enjoy outdoor activities and are after rainless, clear days with mild temperatures, you are better off visiting Gondar from mid-October to late April. Temperatures around those times are between 65°F and 80°F.

However, if you love hot-weather activities and high temperatures don’t scare you away, you may want to travel to Gondar from mid-February to early May. At that time of the year, temperatures are between 80°- 90°F.

Those who like to partake in local festivities should take the chance to travel to Gondar during Timkat, the Ethiopian Orthodox equivalent to Epiphany. It takes place on January 19 at Fasilides’ Bath and it reenacts the first baptism.

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