Ethiopia (April-May 2012): Gondar

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For centuries until the 16th century, the Solomonic kings of Ethiopia (Abyssinia) used to rule their country from a succession of temporary capitals. In 1636 King Fasiladas founded Gondar, which became the country′s permanent capital for two centuries. The Royal Enclosure, at the heart of modern Gondar, is a 70,000sq.m walled compound of 17th-century castles built by successive kings. The largest and most impressive castle was built by King Fasiladas himself (photos 2 through 7 below). Located two kilometers north-west of the Royal Enclosure are Fasiladas′ Baths, a large pool with a two-storied tower in its middle. Once a year the pool is filled with water and Christ′s baptism is re-enacted (Timkat). Two kilometers north-east of the Royal Enclosure lies Debre Birhan Selassie, a church founded in the late 17th century. The church contains amazing ceiling and wall paintings. Several buildings erected during the Italian occupation in the 1930′s are still standing.


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Ethiopia hotel: Italian architecture in the late 1930′s

17th-century castles in Gondar′s Royal Enclosure

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Fasiladas′ Baths

Debre Berhan Selassie:

entrance of the compound

Debre Berhan Selassie: The stone wall surrounding the compound includes 12 towers representing the 12 apostles.

Debre Berhan Selassie church

Debre Berhan Selassie church: roof

Debre Berhan Selassie church: ceiling paintings of 80 cherubic faces

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Debre Berhan Selassie church: wall paintings


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