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Gondar is a royal and ancient historical city of Ethiopia. It was the home of many emperors and princesses who led the country from the 12th century to the last decade of the 20th century, including Emperor Suseneos, Emperor Fasiledes, Empress Mentwab, Iyasu I, Tewodros II and Empress Taitu.

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Points of Interest in Gondar

  • Gondar Castle or Fasil Ghebbi, dubbed the Ethiopian Camelot, is not a single castle, but a complex of castles and palaces. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Once you pay 50 Birr, which includes a guide, you can explore all of the buildings that make up the castle.
    • Fasilides Castle. Built in 1640 as the home of King Fasilides.
    • Iyasu Palace. This was the home of Iyasu I, the son of Yohannes I. An earthquake and bombings by the British destroyed its once ornate and lavish interior, but the structure itself remains mostly intact and is the largest in the area.
    • Mentwabs Palace (Kusquwam).
  • Fasilides Bath. Separate from the castle, it once served as the bath for King Fasilides. Today it is used as a baptismal during Timket.
  • Debre Birhan Selassie Church. A short way out of town, it seems more like a fortress than a church at first glance. This is because the local churches were once vulnerable to attacks by the Sudanese. There are twelve towers guarding this church, each representing one of the twelve apostles. The church itself was built at the end of the 17th century. It is worth a visit to see its amazing ceiling with intricately painted angels. There are also other religious images on the walls. Churches like this were once quite common in the area, but this is the only one to survive the Sudanese attacks, making it even more of a treasure. 25 Birr but a student reduction is possible.


Gorgora is a beautiful small town on the northern shore of Lake Tana about 70 km from Gondar. It has some interesting relics from its brief time as Ethiopia's capital, and the lack of tourists adds to their charm. It is also good for birdwatching. There is an early morning bus from Gondar (20 Birr) and occasional minibuses.

  • Church of Debre Sina. The inside of this 17th century thatched-roof church is breathtaking, with every wall adorned with biblical paintings.
  • Monasteries. There are a number of monasteries on the northern part of Lake Tana. Boat hire is best arranged by visiting the Gorgora Port Hotel.

Fasil Ghebbi

Debre Birhan Selassie Church

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About Gondar



  • Timkat festival: 19 January 2014, - Christian celebration with re-enactments of Baptism and dancing.(date needs updating)


Injera is the common and indigenous food in Gondar. Bread and other foreign foods can be found in hotels and restaurants.

  • Roman Hotel, not too expensive and excellent value, try their tibbs wate. They serve meat even during Lent.
  • Four Sisters, behind the public library (200m from the exit of Fasil's Castle). 7am-11pm. A beautiful restaurant with great service and amazing tej. If you want atmosphere along with great food (faranji and Ethiopian) this is the place to go. Has Ethiopian music and dancing at night.
  • Master Chef Restaurant, a new restaurant with extremely good food, both Ethiopian and Italian dishes. Same price level as Four Sisters. Good service and friendly people. Same road as Four Sisters, but closer to the enclosure, opposite Belegez Pension.


The pure Tej (without sugar - only from honey), Tela (Korefe, Tiru) are the local famous drinks. They are also common throughout Ethiopia, particularly in the Amhara region, although there is some sugar. Factory beers of all kinds are found. It is very common to get Dashen Beer, as Dashen Brewery is in Gondar.


Dashen Bank has two locations with ATMs that accept Visa cards, one of them at the university.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Gondar on Wikivoyage.