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The graceful city of Gondar, founded by Emperor Fasiladas in 1635. The city was Ethiopia's capital until the reign of the would-be reforming Emperor Tewodros II, also known as Theodore. During its long years as a capital city, the settlement emerged as one of the largest and most popular cities in the realm. It was a great center of commerce, trading with the rich lands south of the Blue Nile, as well as with Sudan to the west, and the Red Sea port of Massawa to the north-east.

Gondar is notable for its medieval Castles and churches. The City's unique imperial compound contains a number of Castles built between 1632 and 1855 by the various Emperors who reigned during this period. These dramatic castles, unlike any other African, display richness in architecture that reveals the Axumite traditions as well as the influence of Arabia.

Besides the famous palaces, visitors can inspect the so-called "Bathing Palace of Emperor Fasiladas" which is used for the annual Timket or Epiphany celebrations, and the abbey of the redoubtable eighteenth century Empress Menteweb at QUsquam, in the mountains just outside Gondar. And the church of Debre Berhan Selassie with its unique murals painting considered as Gondarian style of painting. Visitors could make a day trip to the Simien Mountains National Park or travel south to Gorgora, at the northern end of Lake Tana, and visit the very fine and recently restored medieval church of Debre Sina Mariam.