The 17th and 18th century castles of Gondar,considered as a camelot of Africa,are one of the seven UNESCO world heritage sites. King Fasilades poineered the construction of these castles after controling power in 1636.For the first time in Ethiopian history, the Gondarians used lime as a plaster for their s construction.
The city was Ethiopia's capital until the reign of the would-be Reforming Emperor Tewodros II, also known as Theodore. During its long years as a capital, the settlement emerged as one of the largest and most populous cites in the realm. It was a great commercial centre, trading with the rich lands south of the Blue Nile, as well as with Sudan to the west, and the Red Sea port of Massawa to the north-east of Gondar is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and decoration of its churches. The earliest of the castles was created by Fasiladas himself, where from the top, one can see the breath taking view of the city. Besides the famous palaces, one should visit the so called "Bathing Palace of Emperor Fasiladas", which is still used for the annual Timket or Epiphany celebrations and the abbey of the redoubtable eighteen century Empress Mentewab at Quesquam, in the mountains just outside Gondar.
Gonder is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and decoration of its churches. The earliest of the castles was created by Fasiledas himself and is still in such an excellent state of repair that it is possible to climb its stairs all the way to the roof which commands a breathtaking view over much of the city. Besides the famous palaces, visitor should inspect the so-called Bathing Palace of Emperor Fasiledas, which is used for the annual Timket or Epiphany celebrations, and the abbey of the redoubtable eighteenth century Empress Mentewab at Qwesquam, in the mountains just outside Gondar. Mention must also be made of the beautiful church of Debre Berhan Sellassie, with its remarkable ceiling decorated with winged angles - paintings that, despite the passing of centuries, seem to burst with vitality and color. Flanked by twin mountain streams, Gondar commands spectacular views over farmlands to the gleaming waters of Lake Tana 35 kilometers to the south. The city retains an atmosphere of antique charm mingled with an aura of enduring mystery.
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