Gonder a graceful city which was founded by Emperor Fasiledes (1636-67) in the 17th century. The city was Ethiopia’s capital until the mid of 19th century. During its long years as a capital the settlement emerged as one of the largest and populous cities in the realm
Gonder is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and decoration of its churches. The city’s main imperial precinct, known as the Royal Enclosure, covers an area of 7.7 hectares and contains five castles, raised walkways and connecting tunnels surrounded by high stone walls.
The oldest of these is the Castle of Fasilades. Built of stone in the mid-17th century it reflects a number of influence Axumite. The upper storey offers panoramic views and Lake Tana is visible on a clear day. The castle has been renovated recently. Fassilades grandson, Iyasu the great, built his own castle and decorated it with ivory, gold and precious stones but an earthquake in the early 19th caused severe damage. The palace of Ras Beit, was built in the 18th century as a private residence of the famous king maker, Ras Mikael Sehul and has been in continues occupation ever since.
Bath of Fasilades is a sunken pool still used for the Timkat Festival in January With several complexes laden with classical centuries- old stone castles and palaces, it is easy to see how Gonder right fully earned the moniker ‘Africa’s Camelot.’