Wednesday, March 4, 2015

gondar, ethiopia:

After spending a few days in Harar, in eastern Ethiopia, we headed north to Gondar (also spelt Gonder). Gondar is part of the more popular northern, historical circuit which is the most visited part of Ethiopia. The area is dotted with significant architectural and religious sites, most of which represent Ethiopia's Christian history. Ethiopia is the second oldest Christian nation, and therefore has a very rich history and many sites (which you will see in some posts later on) that reflect this.

We didn't spend that much time in Gondar, using it more as a jumping point for a trek in the nearby Simien mountains, but it was a great stay nonetheless. The main drawcard for the area is the historical castle complex of Fasil Ghebbi,  Fasiladas Bath and Debre Berhan Selaassie church. Unfortunately we didn't get time to visit the church, but we did explore the castles and bath, which were both pretty impressive - especially as were in Africa (as opposed to seeing many a castle in Europe)! The castles and bath were built in the 17th century, with Fasil Ghebbi serving as a fortress/city and the baths used for Timket celebrations (the Epiphany).

We were both surprised at how good the condition of some of the structures were, and especially loved being inside the largest castle of the complex, which even had its original ebony balcony still intact. The whole place had me wishing I could I travel back in time and see itin its heyday. I imagine it would have been quite a sight!

next: the Simien mountains.

fasil ghebbi

fasalias bath


  1. I remember a few years ago I read a blog post on Gondar and the author said she loved the archaeological sites in the area more than the rock-hewn church in Lalibela. From your photos I can tell that Gondar is really worth visiting, no matter how limited the time we have. But I'd love to see your captures on Lalibela. Anyway, beautiful photos, as always!

    1. thanks Bama! I really loved Lalibela too, and I think because were there for Genna - Ethiopian Christmas - it made it really special. I cannot wait share our experience there! Both Gondar and Lalibela have different things to offer and are well worth visiting!

  2. Your posts always inspire me and have me wanting to hit the road but these posts on Ethiopia specifically have been especially inspiring. As a child people often assumed I was Ethiopian so ever since I started traveling on my own Ethiopia has always been a place I've wanted to visit. Because of your posts I am really, very seriously, thinking of how I can make that happen this year. I can't wait to read the rest of your posts and also your "wrap up" post to see how you made this all happen without going the tour route - I'm certain I'll be able to gather some tips and recommendations from you. And, as always, these photos are absolutely gorgeous! Are you still using the same camera equipment - I'd be interested in knowing what lens you used on this trip - was it your 24-70?

    1. thanks Kisha! I've actually changed my set-up a little and now mostly use a 50mm/1.4 and a wide angle 16-35mm/2.8 lens. The 24-70mm was getting a bit bulky for me to carry around and whip out when doing the street photography. It's still a great lens though!


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