Gondar


Gondar

In the medieval period of Ethiopia several magnificent castles were erected in Gondar, among the most impressive to be built outside of Europe

In the medieval period of Ethiopia several magnificent castles were erected in Gondar, amongst the most impressive to be built outside of Europe. 

It was Emperor Fasiledes who turned a new page in Ethiopian history by erecting a three story castle rested on 7,0002m, fitted with numerous chambers and imposing balconies around 1640 GC. Fasiledes’ son Yohannes I and grandson Iyasu I followed suit by erecting a castle of their own. With the continuation of erecting a new edifice by successive sovereigns, a century later the castle compound became the home of six structures of different purposes. The last one, considered to be the most beautiful of all, was erected by a powerful empress named Mintwab (“how beautiful she is”) who rose to prominence after the death of her consort, Emperor Bekafa in 1731. While walking in the castle compound one cannot help imagining its vivacious heydays of the royal palace when it hosted banquets full of royalties and clergy members dinning with the king. The Europeans couldn’t believe the British explorer James Bruce when he reported what he had witnessed during his visit in Ethiopia, while he was in search of the source of Blue Nile.

Of the Gondarine period structures beyond the castle compound Fasiledes’ bath can be found, which is grand even by current standards reflecting the highly sophisticated nature of the taste of this emperor. His grandson Iyasu I erected one of the most colorfully decorated churches in Ethiopia- Debre Birhan Sillasse church known for its magnificent angel faces painted on the ceiling.