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Best of Gondar in One Day: Castles, Churches and Coffee Ceremony

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  • Group Tour
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  • 5 hr

Gondar was the first capital city of the Ethiopian empire, which began in 1632 with the reign of Fasilidas. In Gondar, there are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. The city seems more European than African and also has Islamic influences. Beginning with Fasilidas, a succession of Ethiopian kings built the castles that still occupy the heart of modern day Gondar. Known collectively as the Royal Enclosure or "Fasil Ghebbi", the castles have survived several wars, including air raids during World War Two.    There is also the church of Debre Berhan Selassie. It was built by King Iyasu in the late 17th century. Debre Birhan Selassie meaning Light of the Trinity. The church was miraculously spared in the Mahdist War of the 1880's when, according to legend, a swarm of bees held off the invading soldiers!

Itinerary Details

You will picked up at the airport or hotel . Then before lunch, you will visit the palaces, residences and baths of Fasilidas. The site is easily accessible and recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.

Afterwards, you will visit the church of Debre Berham Selassie which is located at the summit of a hill and surrounded by interior is decorated with beautiful frescoes. 80 cherubic angels look down from the ceiling while saints and demons line its walls.

Time Permitting: This region was once home to the "Felasha", or Ethiopian Jews, who immigrated in mass to Israel in the late 20th century.  Although only a few remain, their influence is still seen in the symbols, customs, and rituals of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. You will have the chance to visit these Falasha villages.