Exploring Ethiopia’s historic city of Gondar

In the 17th century, Gondar was once the capital of Ethiopia at the foot of the Simien Mountains. The graceful city quickly became an influential trading center, trading goods with both the rich parts of the country south of the Blue Nile, as well as with western Sudan and the Red Sea port of Massawa.

Since Axum’s antiquity, Gondar was the first permanent capital founded by Emperor Fasilidas. Legend has it that King Fasilidas in the Ethiopian highlands was led by a buffalo to a pool of water, from which an ancient hermit spoke to him, that he should build a city and build a castle there. Here you will find the grandiose, well-preserved palace district of 1632 and the magnificent European-style gardens. From the roof of the Palace of Fasilidas opens a breathtaking view over the entire city.

In January, the Fasilidas Castle becomes a place of pilgrimage for many Ethiopian Orthodox Christians as the Timkat Festival celebrates music and dance in the fabled Bath of Fasilidas and thus the baptism of Jesus Christ. Especially in Gondar the epiphany festival has a very high priority. Liturgy and processions are intensively celebrated: sacred Tabot tablets, which are copies of Moses’ tablets of the law, are brought from the churches to a central festival site, where ceremonies are performed in magnificent robes, prayers, songs, readings and proclamations, as well as holy holy water become. In January, the Fasilidas Castle becomes a place of pilgrimage for many Ethiopian Orthodox Christians as the Timkat Festival celebrates music and dance in the fabled Bath of Fasilidas and thus the baptism of Jesus Christ. Especially in Gondar the epiphany festival has a very high priority.

Liturgy and processions are intensively celebrated: sacred Tabot tablets, which are copies of Moses’ tablets of the law, are brought from the churches to a central festival site, where ceremonies are performed in magnificent robes, prayers, songs, readings and proclamations, as well as holy holy water become.

In January, the Fasilidas Castle becomes a place of pilgrimage for many Ethiopian Orthodox Christians as the Timkat festival celebrates music and dance in the fabled Bath of Fasilidas and thus the baptism of Jesus Christ. Especially in Gondar the epiphany festival has a very high priority. Liturgy and processions are intensively celebrated: sacred Tabot tablets, which are copies of Moses’ tablets of the law, are brought from the churches to a central festival site, where ceremonies are performed in magnificent robes, prayers, songs, readings and proclamations, as well as holy holy water become.

The medieval origins date back to legendary castles and palaces and churches. In the period between 1632 and 1855, the countless ruling emperors built a huge number of castles representing a unique historical compilation of the imperial dynasties.

Unlike other African buildings, these castles show their architectural richness, reflecting the traditions of Axum as well as Arabian influences. The Trinity Church by Debre Berhane Selassie is a historic gem. Artfully designed heads on the ceiling of the chapel depict beheaded women, who according to legend are supposed to return to earth as angels. Close to Gondar, another smaller but no less impressive castle complex can be found in Kusquam

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