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Ethiopia: Fasil Ghebbi

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Fasil Ghebbi | Ethiopia | Africa

[Visited: October 2006]

Even though the Fasil Ghebbi or Royal Enclosure is surrounded by a low wall, it is hard to miss seeing the towers of the palaces inside upon entering Gonder. Something else to strike you, is the more relaxed and friendly atmosphere in this former capital of Ethiopia, as compared to other cities in these parts of Ethiopia like Bahir Dar or Axum. Since the light was outright bad when we arrived, we decided to wait until the last possible moment to buy our ticket and enter the royal compound. Stepping inside means stepping back in time, you leave modern-day Gonder behind and walk where royals were walking centuries ago.

Picture of Fasil Ghebbi (Ethiopia): Fasil Ghebbi: chancellery at dusk

So this is where emperor Fasilidas founded the city in 1635, a relatively new ex-capital as compared to others in Ethiopia. Gonder would remain the capital of Ethiopia until the second half of the 19th century. Inside the enclosure, you can find six castles and several other, smaller buildings, all standing proudly in well-kept lawn. While most are quite well-kept or well restored, the most outstanding castle is the Fasilidas Castle, which is a product of fusion of Portuguese, Axumite and Indian influences. It looks just like the perfect castle from the outside; inside, you can marvel at enormous rooms. Unfortunately, it was impossible to visit the top floor which should have a great view of the surroundings.

Picture of Fasil Ghebbi (Ethiopia): Castle in Fasil Ghebbi or Royal Enclosure at dusk

Unfortunately, some other castles are damaged because of earthquakes, bombardments in World War II, or both. Still, the Fasil Ghebbi is a romantic place, remarkably also so for Ethiopian visitors. Large birds like vultures circle the skies above the Fasil Ghebbi, and add to the special feeling that this place provokes in the visitor. Especially the great late afternoon light, combined with fantastic cloudy sky, made our visit to the Royal Enclosure a very enjoyable one.

Picture of Fasil Ghebbi (Ethiopia): Fasil Castle in the Royal Enclosure at dusk
Picture of Fasil Ghebbi (Ethiopia): Fasil Castle seen from below
Picture of Fasil Ghebbi (Ethiopia): Typical shapes of a castle: Fasil Castle at the Fasil Ghebbi
Picture of Fasil Ghebbi (Ethiopia): Fasil Castle with balcony and towers
Picture of Fasil Ghebbi (Ethiopia): Fasil Castle seen from a distance
Picture of Fasil Ghebbi (Ethiopia): Towers defining the shapes of Fasil Castle
Picture of Fasil Ghebbi (Ethiopia): Contours of Fasil Castle just before sunset
Picture of Fasil Ghebbi (Ethiopia): Gonder: castles in the Royal Enclosure or the Fasil Ghebbi
Picture of Fasil Ghebbi (Ethiopia): Sunset in Gonder: castles inside the Royal Enclosure
Picture of Fasil Ghebbi (Ethiopia): Silhouettes of castles in the Royal Enclosure in Gonder
Picture of Fasil Ghebbi (Ethiopia): Contours of castle in Royal Enclosure at sunset
Picture of Fasil Ghebbi (Ethiopia): Cloudy ceiling: looking at the sky in the ruins of one of the castles of Gonder
Picture of Fasil Ghebbi (Ethiopia): Walls are still standing in the ruins of this castle of Gonder

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