Gonder (also called Africa’s Camelot) is home to several castles dating back to the 17th century when Ethiopia was a wealthy nation with caravan routes to the Red Sea. Three wealthy rulers had built palaces in one compound in Gonder. Though their lavish riches and decorations are long gone, the basalt walls, domed towers and crenellated parapets still stand.

Fasilides Castle in Gonder

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First stop on the Gonder tour is the Royal Enclosure – a 70,000 sq metre site in the middle of town full of castles built by successive emperors in the 17th and 18th centuries. Inside the outer walls one finds Fasilides castle, Iyasu’s Palace, Dawit’s Hall, a banqueting hall, stables, Mentewab’s Castle, a chancellery, library and three churches.

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