Posted By on July 21, 2018

Historical Gondar and its surroundings

Gondar became the capital of Ethiopia during the reign of Emperor Fasil (1632-1667) who succeeded in making Gondar as a strong power.
Gondar rose to prominence after Ethiopia went through a long period of time without a fixed capital and emerged in the 17th century as the largest settlement in the country. Gondar was noted important for the administration of the whole country, a center of commerce, and a focus of culture, expressed distinct architecture, music, poetry, painting and manuscript writing.
The city retained its pre-eminence until the middle of the nineteenth century, when emperor Tewodros II moved his seat of government to Debre Tabore and later to Mekdela.
As a result, Gondar declined in importance and was subsequently looted in the 1880’s by the Sudanese Dervishes. By the early nineteenth century the city was a mere shadow of the former self.
More recently, several historic buildings were damaged by British bombing during the Ethiopian liberation campaign of 1941. Most of Gondar’s famous castles and other imperial buildings nevertheless have survived the ravages of time and together constitute one of Ethiopia’s most fascinating antiquities.

Ethiopia has old tradition in architecture and the style of the Gondar castles is consistent with this tradition.

Historical Gondar and its surroundings are most representative of the medieval culture of Ethiopia.

The oldest and most impressive of Gondar’s imperial structure is the two storied palace of Emperor Fasil, which is built roughly hewn brown basalt stones held together with lime mortar. The architecture has Indian, Portuguese and Axumite influences.

Other buildings in the imperial quarter of Gondar include the library of emperor Yohnes I (1667 – 1682) a nearby chancellery; the saddle shaped castle of emperor Iyasu I (1682-1706); the large hall or house of song of emperor Dadwit III (1716-1721), in which many ceremonies took place informer days; the long V-shaped reception and banqueting hall of Bakaffa(1722-1730), and the two storied palace of the latter’s redoubtable consort, empress Mentewab.
The palace compound is the site of the grave of one of the most remarkable nineteenth century foreign traveler to Ethiopia, emperor Tewodros’s close friend, Walter Plowden,
a sometime British consul.
The other important attractions in the city of Gondar are:
Bath of Fasil found Northwest of the city of center. This is a water basin of about 50m x30m, and up to 2.5m deep, in the center of which stands a two-storied square castle, built of row basalt stone. The whole is surrounded by a beautiful park with trees.
In Gondar the annual celebration commemorating Christ’s baptism in the river Jordan, “TIMKAT”, the most important religious holiday in Ethiopia, is held here on January 19.
Near the bath of Emperor Fasil stand the ruins of a small mausoleum, generally known as the tomb of the horse Zubel, emperor Fasil’s favorite horse.
Debreberhane Selassie church (“Trinity church of the mountain of Light”), it was constructed during the reign of emperor Iyasu in the 17th century. The church is one of the country’s most famous church, and one of the highlights of Gondar -and Ethiopia.
Inside the church when you see the ceiling, there are 80 winged heads of cherubs entirely cover the ceiling. The paintings on the wall of the church are also very attractive.
The handicrafts in the village of Wolleka, formerly inhabited by Falashas, or Judaic Ethiopians; and the market especially on Saturday are some of the attractions.

Castle of Gondar

Castle of Gondar_by Marvelous Ethiopia Tour

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Ethiopia has a diverse tourist attraction that enables you to visit nature, culture and history. Marvelous Ethiopia Tour promises to give you best services with competitive prices. For your travel needs in Ethiopia, please contact us. Email: marvelousethiopia@gmail.com / marveltour@yahoo.com / eyassudagnew@yahoo.com / www.marvelousethiopia.net


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