I bet you didn’t know we have castles in Africa too! Unfortunately this wasn’t considered important enough to put in our standard beginners history books, but guess what !? Better late then never right? 🙂 Don’t believe me? You can find it on Google Earth! Click on the World Heritage site below.
Gondar or Gonder is a city and separate woreda in Ethiopia. Located in the Semien Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, Gondar is north of Tana Lake on the Lesser Angereb River and southwest of the Simien Mountains. It has a latitude and longitude of 12°36′N 37°28′E with an elevation of 2133 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by the Gondar Zuria woreda.
The city holds the remains of several royal castles, including those inFasil Ghebbi (the Royal Enclosure), for which Gondar has been called the “Camelot of Africa”
Téwodros II was baptized as Sahle Dingil, and often referred to in English by the equivalent Theodore II (c. 1818 – April 13, 1868) was the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1855 until his death.
He was born Kassa Haile Giorgis, but was more regularly referred to as Kassa Hailu meaning “restitution” and “His [or the] power”). His rule is often placed as the beginning of modern Ethiopia, ending the decentralized Zemene Mesafint (Era of the Princes).
(The Cross of Emperor Tewodros II above)
Tewodros II’s origins were in the Era of the Princes, but his ambitions were not those of the regional nobility. He sought to reestablish a cohesive Ethiopian state and to reform its administration and church. He did not initially claim Solomonic lineage but did seek to restore Solomonic hegemony, and he considered himself the Elect of God. Later in his reign, suspecting that foreigners considered him an upstart and seeking to legitimize his reign, he added “son of David and Solomon” to his title.
Tewodros II’s first task was to bring Shewa under his control. During the Era of the Princes, Shewa was, even more than most provinces, an independent entity, its ruler even styling himself Negus. In the course of subduing the Shewans, Tewodros imprisoned a Shewan prince, Menelik II, who would later become emperor himself. Despite his success against Shewa, Tewodros faced constant rebellions in other provinces.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, the fortress-city of Fasil Ghebbi was the residence of the Ethiopian emperor Fasilides and his successors. Surrounded by a 900-m-long wall, the city contains palaces, churches, monasteries and unique public and private buildings marked by Hindu and Arab influences, subsequently transformed by the Baroque style brought to Gondar by the Jesuit missionaries.
Between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, Ethiopian rulers moved their royal camps frequently. King Fasil (Fasilidas) settled in Gondar and established it as a permanent capital in 1636. Before its decline in the late eighteenth century, the royal court had developed from a camp into a fortified compound called Fasil Ghebbi, consisting of six major building complexes and other ancillary buildings, surrounded by a wall 900 metres long, with twelve entrances and three bridges.
The fortress city functioned as the centre of the Ethiopian government until 1864. It has some twenty palaces, royal buildings, highly decorated churches, monasteries and unique public and private buildings, transformed by the Baroque style brought to Gondar by the Jesuit missionaries. The main castle has huge towers and looming battlemented walls, resembling a piece of medieval Europe transposed to Ethiopia. Beyond the confines of the city to the north-west by the Qaha River, there is a two-storey pavilion of a bathing palace associated to Emperor Fasilidas.
The building is a two-storey battlemented structure situated within and on one side of a rectangular pool of water which was supplied by a canal from the nearby river. The bathing pavilion itself stands on pier arches, and contains several rooms reached by a stone bridge, part of which could be raised for defence. Subsequent rulers, such as Iyasu the Great, continued building, improving the techniques and architectural style and expanded to the hills north-west of the city centre, in the area known as Qusquam.
Gondar or Gonder is a city and separate woreda in Ethiopia. Located in the Semien Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, Gondar is north of Tana Lake on the Lesser Angereb River and southwest of the Simien Mountains.
Ethiopia is 1 of the 2 countries that was not conolized in Africa.