HIGHLIGHTS Tues 30 Dec: Fasilidas Castle, Gondar

Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Gonder, Amhara, Ethiopia
Fasilidas's Castle

Fasil Ghebbi (Royal Enclosure) is the remains of a fortress-city within Gondar. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries by Emperor Fasilides (Fasil) and was the home of Ethiopia's emperors. Its unique architecture shows diverse influences including Nubian, Arab, and Baroque styles.

The complex of buildings includes Fasilides' castle, Iyasu I's palace, Dawit III's Hall, a banqueting hall, stables, Empress Mentewab's castle, a chancellery, library and three churches: Asasame Qeddus Mikael, Elfin Giyorgis and Gemjabet Mariyam.




Gondar Market

Even splitting into 2 smaller groups, we as faranjis / foreigners still stood out like a sore thumb. Those unlucky traders who did not have a permanent stall, tried to protect themselves from the sun under make shift awnings and umbrellas selling clothing, shoes, fruit and vegetables, spices and household utensils.

Donkeys and sheer human power moved the items around the narrow crowded alley ways. Just another typical market place.

Three Sisters for their rather extensive traditional food buffet lunch. Again it a little bit of most things with seconds of course! A glass of tej / honey wine was drunk as well.






Emperor Fasilides Bath

Because of Tinket in late January, Emperor Fasilides Bath 2,800 m2 bath or pool was being filled for baptism during the forthcoming Timket festival. Otherwise it is empty. Being only partially filled, loved the reflections.

For Tinket, the grounds will be packed shoulder to shoulder and people literally hanging off the tree branches. Yes, love to one year return and witness for myself this very important religious festival.



Church of Debre Birhan Selassle

Last stop of the day was Church of Debre Birhan Selassle.

When the Mahdist Dervishes of the Sudan sacked the city of Gondar in 1888, they burned down every church in the city except Debre Birhan Selassie. According to local legend, when the Mahdist soldiers approached the church, a swarm of bees descended on the compound of the church and kept the soldiers back, and the Archangel Michael himself stood before the large wooden gates with a flaming sword drawn.

The outside of Debre Birhan Selassie is rather plain. Surrounded by 12 round towers representing the 12 apostles. The larger 13th tower (entrance gate) symbolises Christ and is shaped to resemble the Lion of Judah.

Its interior has made it one of Ethiopia's top tourist attractions. The walls depict biblical scenes and saints and the ceiling is covered with the faces of hundreds of angels or cherubs.






A collection of general street scenes around Gondar. I particularly like the one of the shoe shine boy. Look at the expressions of the 4 men having their shoes shined. I did ask for permission but took it rather quickly. My shoes were in need of a shine but considering the dusty roads that we were on each day, I saw no point. Perhaps in hindsight I should have just for the experience. Apparently it is 5 birr for locals but for us faranji / foreigner it is 10 birr!

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