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“A must for history buffs”
Review of Fasil Ghebbi

Fasil Ghebbi
Ranked #3 of 17 things to do in Gonder
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: A royal fortress-city dating back to the 16th-17th centuries demonstrates Hindu, Arabic and baroque influences.
Atlanta, GA
Level Contributor
295 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
“A must for history buffs”
Reviewed 18 May 2014

This was a must for me as I wanted to see as many historical sites in Gonder and Ethiopia. Our guide was excellent. He took his time explaining details on all three castles and the rich history of the Royal family. Excellent.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank cstocker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Saint John, Canada
Level Contributor
340 reviews
204 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 157 helpful votes
“Must see in Gondar!”
Reviewed 29 April 2014

It is the highlight of the Gondar trip. Very relaxing walk through a treed grounds with three different Castles built over three generations. The female guide we had was excellent! I loved looking at everything and getting photo's.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Murray D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
28 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Ethiopian Castles”
Reviewed 16 April 2014

Great way to spend half the day. There are multiple castles, each built by different kings and royal family members. I recommend hiring a guide so they can give you the history

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank sarah w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Level Contributor
29 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“Medieval Kingdom”
Reviewed 11 April 2014

A must visit to understand how the medieval kings live in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia. Despite a huge damaged caused by both early Sudanese invaders and British airplanes in WWII the remnants prevail a heart warming history and architecture inspired 400 years ago. A Tour guide is mandatory in order to understand the full history of the castles. We are happy to run in the medieval ages!

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank toyedi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minnesota
Level Contributor
730 reviews
596 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,434 helpful votes
“A trip to Africa's Camelot”
Reviewed 8 April 2014

I toured the Royal Enclosure at the end of a three-day excursion to the Gojam/Gondar provinces, starting in Bahir Dar and finishing on a plane bound for Axum. It is literally and figuratively at the center of the town of Gondar and virtually impossible to miss. My guide set up the specifics including entry and a local/on-site guide.

The visitor’s entrance and ticket office is located at the Judge’s Gate, and after a brief check-in process we started the tour. My local guide was quite knowledgeable and began with a 10 minute lecture on the importance and Gondar in Ethiopian history and a general overview of the period surrounding Emperor Fasiladas’ reign. Most of this was review from information found in my guidebooks but it was still good to hear again. The Royal Enclosure is just that: an area of around 18 acres containing a number of buildings built by various rulers over several hundred years. We started at what most would consider the centerpiece of the experience, Fasiladas’ Castle. A mix of Portuguese, Indian, and Ethiopian influences, the structure was recently renovated by UNESCO and stood as the singular highlight of my tour with the first and second floors accessible. Views here are quite memorable as are the stories accompanying the building itself. We continued on to the numerous other buildings such as Iyasu’s Palace, the Chancellry, and the Banqueting Hall and Stables in the rear. I won’t recount all the details for sake of time but the history of each is as multi-layered as the history of Ethiopia itself. I was allowed to walk around on my own to take it all in after the tour and after almost two-hours on site we departed at the exit at Balderas’ Gate.

Along with a visit to Lalibela’s churches and Axum’s ruins, the Royal Enclosure in Gondar was on my “must-see” list while in Ethiopia and I’m happy to report that it was worth the intercontinental trip. To get a little return on your time here you will need to do a little reading and use your imagination as there are minimal (if any) explanations in any of the structures mentioned, although the guide was able to fill in many of the gaps. It’s really the atmosphere of this place more than anything that I enjoyed, with the stories and explanations functioning as the icing on the cake. Recommended.

Tips:

*If you’re looking for a good guide to get you here then Melese Aychew (meleseay@yahoo.com) comes highly recommended.

*As opposed to an attraction like the Blue Nile Falls, this place is more of a year-round destination and I think it could be enjoyed equally in the wet or dry seasons.

*I’m not sure if a local/on-site guide is mandatory when you visit here but I would definitely say one is “highly recommended.” As above there is no didactic portion (signs, displays, exhibits, etc.) to any of the structures I saw.

*Consider an off-peak (i.e. really early when they open) visit in the high season as it may let you have some individual solace when you tour the compound. I think I saw maybe one other tourist there during my time and the solitude definitely added to the overall experience.

*If you plan an afternoon visit bring sunscreen and a hat. There is quite a bit of outside walking to do here and not much to see inside the buildings.

*Photo-ops abound here, even if you’re an amateur like me. Feel free to wander alone in the nooks and crannies of a place if you can.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank midway42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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