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Gondar and its castles

DAY 16


View Ethiopia on tia-saz-fitz's travel map.

We hired a minivan and driver in Bahir Dar and had a great trip through typical Ethiopian rocky hills to the city of Gondar.

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We are staying at a lovely hotel overlooking the castles and surrounding city.
It has a beautiful terrace and is a great place to reflect and have a drink after our daily jaunts.

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Wandering around the 17 th century castles of Gondar you can understand why it is known as "Africa's Camelot".
Emperor Fasilidas made Gondar his capital in 1636 and within what is known as the "Royal Enclosure" there are no less than 6 castles.
Unesco declared this a world heritage site in 1979.
Fasilidas' palace is the oldest castle and very well preserved. It stands at 32 m tall!

Also within this amazing compound are stables, a huge banquet hall, a sauna and even lion cages which still housed Haile Selassie's lions up until 1992 !

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The Emperor's sauna room !
The room next door is a giant fire pit - logs are thrown through the door to keep the fire burning.
Between the fire room and the sauna room there is a small connecting ditch which is filled with volcanic rocks.
On one side the fire heats up the rocks and on the other side the Emperor sits and throws water on the hot rocks which makes the steam.

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There are 8 lion cages !

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One of our favourite sights would have to be Emperor Fasilidas' "bath".
A beautiful and peaceful spot surrounded by shady trees whose roots have grown into the stone wall.
The sunken enormous pool with a castle in the middle was thought to have been a summer residence and used for bathing by the royal family who used inflated goatskins as lifejackets.

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The Debre Berhan Selassie church was built in the 18 th century and is most well known for its beautiful ceiling of painted winged angels - 104 of them! Very unique and beautiful.

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Posted by tia-saz-fitz 18:00 Archived in Ethiopia

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