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In 2011 I saw only two of the several famous Gonder churches, St George and St Michael -- and was allowed inside only St Michael.
In 2012 I visited the UNESCO "world heritage" Debre Birhan Selassie church. (My photos would not load.)
Updated May 8, 2013
Gonder was Ethiopia's capital from the mid-17th to the mid-19th centuries. Prior to that time the monarchs had had no fixed capital, but had moved from place to place usually each year. Once settled in Gondar, the rulers built castles and other structures -- a banquet hall, churches -- in the "royal enclosure." That compound is what causes some to call Gonder "the Camelot of Africa."
The buildings were damaged during the Muslim attacks of the mid-19th century (after the capital had been moved to Addis Ababa) and again during the Italian occupation of 1936-40. The Italians located their military headquarters in the Enclosure; that led to the British bombing of first and grandest of the castles, that of King (or Emperor) Fasilides.
Written May 8, 2013
Address: Near the center of town.
As a procession of church dignitaries was coming down a hill toward the main street, groups of boys and young men -- 20 to 40 at a time -- ran up and down the street, waving sticks and chanting something. (My guide said only that their words were "religious." I might have guessed that.)
Updated Feb 24, 2011
One of the few churches to survive the invasions of Mahdin army from near by Sudan in the 17th-18th century. It is worth a visit. Garden enclosure is peacful and quiet. It is located about 2km from the Gonder Castles and takes about 30 min leasurly walk - up a hill.
Written Nov 2, 2007
A beautiful place to vist. Get a guide as there is no literature given to tourists at the enterance. All the guides know the history behind the castles and do a good job at explaing things. Expect the tour to take up to an hour - depending questions. Dont bother taking pictures during the guide. Once he is finished with you, you can re-do the tour at your lesure. Expect to pay about 50Birr (5USD) for guide and another 5USD for enterance.
Written Nov 2, 2007