Gonder Things to Do

  • view from simien mountains
    view from simien mountains
    by hanspeter_W.
  • inside Fasilidas bath
    inside Fasilidas bath
    by hanspeter_W.
  • exit/entrance from Fasilidas bath
    exit/entrance from Fasilidas bath
    by hanspeter_W.

Most Recent Things to Do in Gonder

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    THE POST

    by DAO Updated Mar 26, 2009

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    The Post Office is very easy to find at the large roundabout in the centre. It is open:

    8:30am-12:30pm & 2pm-5:30pm Monday-Friday

    Unlike other Post Offices, however, it does not do international calls.

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    Simien Mountains

    by boltonian Written Aug 2, 2008

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    Now, it is possible to go hiking for several days in the National Park.

    However, if you want to see the mountains and the baboons without such a trek, you can do.

    Find a guide and driver in the town (but see my warnings section).

    They will take you up to 'The National Park. In reality, they take you up into the mountains for about 45 mins drive. This is mountains, but not the Nat Park despite what they tell you. They tell you this so they can charge the 'entry fee'.

    They take you on a 2 hour walk along some pretty scary drops. In pouring rain, we finally got to see monkeys and baboons from a distance. The scenery was amazing and the trip was well worth it

    The unique thing here was the local farmers. Working the land, they came over to follow our 2 hour trek.

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    • National/State Park

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    Castles

    by boltonian Written Aug 2, 2008

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    A few hundred metres away form the centre of town is a walled complex. This is the Royal Enclosure.

    Entry is 100 Birr. They ask you to pay more for video camera, but once inside, nobody would know if you had one so don't pay extra.

    You can pick up a guide at the gate, but we didn't bother.

    Inside you will find several castles of varying size and condition. Watch your step as many drops exist with no safety rails or warnings.

    The main castle is pretty impressive. you can go inside, but not onto the roof (or not the day we visited which was a shame).

    With so many castles in England, you may not be too impressed with this complex. Still, I thought it was ok, but no more than a couple of hours worth at a push.

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    ROYAL ENCLOSURE - PART 2

    by DAO Updated Apr 19, 2008

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    Gonder was founded by Emperor Fasilides around the year 1635. Previously the Emperors of Ethiopia usually had no fixed capital. They lived in tents in temporary royal camps and moved around their lands nomadically. Fasilides commissioned the massive walls and watch towers. This fixed fortification protected the city which was the 2nd largest city in the world at his death. Inside you will find Palaces built by Fasilides, his son Yohannes I (1667-1682), grandson Iyasu I the Great (1682-1706) and another descendent Dawit III (1716-1721). Also there is a banqueting hall, baths, lion cages, stables auditorium, kitchen, wells and storage facilities. A very amazing place.

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    Debre Birhan Selassie Church - part 1

    by DAO Updated Apr 19, 2008

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    Debre Berhan Selassie Church originally started as a stone church built in the 1690’s by Emperor Iyasu. It evolved into a heavily defended walled compound. Inside the church are some amazing murals on the walls and ceilings. The most predominate are the 104 winged Ethiopian Cherubs. It seems like there is a lot more than that, but they have been counted. The paintings also include depictions of Hell and the Prophet Mohammed on a camel led by the devil. Real fire and brimstone stuff.

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    ROYAL ENCLOSURE - PART 1

    by DAO Updated Apr 19, 2008

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    3The entrance price for the Royal Enclosure includes a guide! Now that’s service. The guides are knowledgeable and helpful. They can explain the different building periods of the enclosure. You may want to just roam around by yourself and join another tour group here and there to give you some flexibility.

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    See the Castles

    by flynboxes Written Jan 20, 2008

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    You can do this in a couple of hours. You don't need a guide but for a couple of bucks why not.
    As some Italian tourists in front of me found out..please don't climb around on things unless it is marked to do so.

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    LION CAGES

    by DAO Updated Dec 30, 2007

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    The original ‘Lion Houses’ were built inside the Royal Enclosure by Emperor Dawit (1721-1730). All the subsequent rulers of Ethiopia kept Abyssinian Lions inside the enclosure until 1991! Emperor Haile Selassie had the more modern cages built, pictured here. Even the communists government, the Derg, that overthrew him kept the lions on. When the Derg was forced to flee the city during a rebel onslaught they abandoned the lions to die. The successful rebels managed to save two of them, and sent them to a zoo in Addis Ababa.!

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    BIG TREE

    by DAO Updated Dec 30, 2007

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    This seems to be the place to meet in Gonder. It is in the opposite direction from the Post Office along the road past the Royal Enclosure. No one knows the age of the tree, but I think 500-1000 years old might be likely.

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    Debre Berhan Selassie Church

    by SirRichard Written Feb 18, 2007

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    This orthodox church lies some 2 kms away from the city. Most tourist take a taxi there but you can do it walkingin about 10-15 minutes. All the inner walls are covered with wonderful pictures about the Bibles, apostols and God but the main highlight here is the ceiling, covered with little angels, that you will see in many postcards and books on Ethiopia

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    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel
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    Fasiladas' Bath

    by SirRichard Written Feb 17, 2007

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    Me at Fasiladas Bath

    Not to be confused with Fasiladas' Palace (in the royal enclosure), this little castle surrounded by a pool lies some 2 kms north of Gonder. There are minibuses that can take you there. I went walking, just a 15 minutes walk. If you go walking is OK as it's all the way down, but take the taxi/bus for returning, as the way back is upwards.
    This place was a kind of relaxing pool for the kings, but also had some religious importance for being a huge baptism place. Even nowadays, during Timkat, common baptisms take place here.
    When I was there it was under restoration.
    You can enter with the same ticket you bought for the Royal Enclosure.

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    The Royal Enclosure

    by SirRichard Written Feb 17, 2007

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    Inside the enclosure

    In 1636, Emperor Fasiladas made Gonder its capital, for about 200 years. In this period a real court was stablished here and in Gonder a Royal Palace and many adyacent buildings were built and an intense activity was developed arounf the kingdom, also known as "ethiopian Camelot". There are castles, churches, baths, reception halls, libraries... in an area of about 75000 sq ft.
    The castles are incredibly well preserved, though the whole complex has a sense of wilderness given by the grass that covers the ground.
    Entrance is 50B (5USD) and includes also other distant buildings as Fasiladas Bath.
    There are guides available, but you can visit the place on your own.

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  • Go see the Monkeys.

    by kenny1971 Written Jan 10, 2006

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    A four day trek in the Simien Mountians is a must. It can be a bit of a slog but its worth every moment. The views that you will experience are stunning and the wildlife is amazing. You will see large groups of Gilda baboons, which are found nowhere else in the world, as well as a wide variety of birds.
    Mr Fakadu is the man to see, he can be contacted via the Circle reception. He will be able to sort out your transport, food, cook and camping equipment. And remember, its good to haggle, but don't push it.

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    • National/State Park

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    Debre Birhan Selassie

    by leonik Written Sep 16, 2005

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    Possibly the most famous fresco in Ethiopia, on the ceiling of the Debre Birhan Selassie Church about 2km from the town center of Gonder...

    Heads of winged cherubs/angels adorn the ceiling... beautiful!

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    Debre Berhan Selassie Church, paintings

    by sachara Updated Sep 2, 2004

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    Debre Berhan Selassie Church

    Not only the famous ceiling of the Debre Berhan Selasssie Church makes it worth to visit the interior. At the walls you can also find beautiful and colourful paintings of almost all the Ethiopian saints and martyrs. For an explanation about the Ethiopian saints you can have a look at my Bahir Dar page.

    The ceiling and the wall paintings are made by the same artist, Haile Meskel. You can also find a portrait of Emperor Iyasus, the founder of this church. And look out for an image of the prophet Mohammed on a camel being led by a devil and the depiction of hell, looking like the paintings of Jeroen Bosch.

    Opening hours: daily 5am - 6pm
    Admission: 15 Birr

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