Project Description

Gondar is situated in the Northwestern part of Ethiopia and home of medieval royal city and center of art and culture is famous for its many medieval castles and churches. This land of castles and churches was founded by Emperor Fasiledes in 1632 and served as the royal capital of Ethiopian emperors for about 250 years. The foundation of this imperial capital witnessed a period of optimism and renaissance of the golden days of Axum and Lalibela architecture, literature, education, music, painting and commerce that had been perished after the fall of ancient Aksum, rose to prominence.

Gondar enjoyed a privileged position not only for its history, natural resources but also for its strategic location at the crossroads of flourishing trade routes. Meanwhile, a trade route to the west linking Ethiopia with Egypt Via Sudan was becoming increasingly important. Gondar was probably on the sites of an existing settlement with its own people, but the call of trade, art and construction soon attracted Armenians, Greeks, Persians, Portuguese, Indians, and the black Jewish known as Felasha in Ethiopian language. Three emperors Fasiledes, Yohannes, and Iyasu marked the splendor of the age of Gondar and their concerns and success revolved around trade, arts, construction and expanding Christian faith.

The Fasil castle lies at the heart of the city and this royal compound encompasses six lofty castles, many different purposes buildings like the royal, archive, house of the musician, the lion cage, the horse zoo, the sauna bath, house of spinners. Outside Emperor Fasil’s royal enclosure, there are several buildings of the same era and architectural art like Emperor Fasiledes bath, empress Mintewab compound found at Kusquam Mariam, and Debre Birhan Selassie church well known for its colorful wall paintings that escaped entirely untouched from the Mahdist war when the Dervish of Sudan attacked Gondar at the mid of 19th century.