Emperor Fasilides' Castle, Gondar

Born in 1603, Fasilides was coronated in 1632, after his father Susenyos had abdicated after a revolt to his converting to Roman Catholism.  Once Emperor, Fasilides restored the status of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as state religion as well as the relationship with the Egyptian Orthodox Church, while confiscating possessions of the Jesuits and banning them from his empire.


Why consider booking our our Ethiopia Culture & National Parks modules? Because for the same price, our tour gets you to ALL cultural places Ethiopia is so famous for, and on top of that, you get to see up to 12 National Parks/Reserves accompanied by a conservation forester. There is nothing similar on the market. As Ethiopia can be combined with other East African countries, we organize tours in modules. Destinations Overview: Historical Circuit; Danakil Depression; Eathern Route; Simien Mountains; Bale Mountains; Southern Parks Safari; Gambella; Addis Ababa BUT WAIT: if you buy your international ticket with Ethiopia Airlines, they will sell the internal flights at a price that you can't even ride the bus for. But you MUST plan it all in one package and making changes will be very costly. So let us help you plan your entire trip for an incredibly low price!


Founding Gondar in 1636, and declaring it Ethiopia's capital, he commissioned the Royal Enclosure, Fasil Ghebbi, and its first palace, Fasilides' Castle, Gondar. Other buildings from his reign include the following churches in Gondar: Adababay Iyasus, Adababay Tekle Haymanot, Atatami Mikael, Gimjabet Maryam, Fit Mikael, and Fit Abbo; as well as the Cathedral Church of St Mary of Zion at Axum. He also commissioned the building of Fasilides' Bath and the construction of 7 stone bridges.


Fasilides remains were mummified and are kept at St. Stephen's monastery on Daga Island in Lake Tana. together with Fasilides' seven-year-old son Isur, who was crushed in a crowd paying homage to the new king.


Perhaps the oldest of these is the Enqulal Gemb, or Egg Castle, so named on account of its egg-shaped domed roof. Other buildings include the royal archive and the stable.


The first castle built in the late 1630s, Fasilides' Castle, also know as Enqulal Gemb or Egg Castle for the egg-shaped domed roofs of its corner towers, stands in a grassy compound surrounded by later palaces and castles. With its huge towers and looming batlemented walls.


With three levels plus and additional 2 levels in the main tower, its battlemented walls, the impressive castle resembles a piece of medieval Europe in Ethiopia.  The ground level includes a dining room and a reception room, the next level had a religious function and included a chapel for praying, while the top level had a great view over the city.


For further reading click on Palaces of Ethiopia.


EMPEROR FASILIDES' CASTLE, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: standing in a grassy compound within the Royal Enclosure Fasil Ghebbi in Gondar EMPEROR FASILIDES' CASTLE, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Fasilides' Castle - also referred to as Enqulal Gemb (Egg Castle, for its egg-shaped roofs on the towers).

Fasilides' Castle standing in a grassy compound within the Royal Enclosure Fasil Ghebbi in Gondar.

Fasilides' Castle - also referred to as Enqulal Gemb (Egg Castle, for its egg-shaped roofs on the towers).

EMPEROR FASILIDES' CASTLE, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Facade of Fasilides' Castle within the Royal Enclosure Fasil Ghebbi. EMPEROR FASILIDES' CASTLE, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Stairways into Fasilides' Castle at the Royal Enclosure, Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar, Ethiopia

Facade of Fasilides' Castle.

Stairways into Fasilides' Castle.

EMPEROR FASILIDES' CASTLE, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Dining room at Fasilides' Castle, Royal Enclosure, Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar, Ethiopia EMPEROR FASILIDES' CASTLE, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Connection between the Reception Hall and the Dining Room Fasilides' Castle
EMPEROR FASILIDES' CASTLE, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Dining room at Enqulal Gemb - Egg Castle -, Royal Enclosure, Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar, Ethiopia

Top left and left: Dining room at Fasilides' Castle.


Top right: Connection between the Reception Hall and the Dining Room.

EMPEROR FASILIDES' CASTLE, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Archway in Enqulal Gemb or Egg-Castle, Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar EMPEROR FASILIDES' CASTLE, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Main doors dining room Fasilides' Castle, Royal Enclosure, Gondar

Archway in Enqulal Gemb or Egg-Castle.


Main doors dining room Emperor Fasilides' Castle, Gondar.


Fasilidas' Castle is part of this fabulous travel itinerary:




Ethiopia Historic Circuit by car

9 days. Price: $1249. Hotels, meals, transportation, fees, non-alcoholic beverages, tee/coffee at meals included. Minimum 2 passengers.

Ask for group discount.

Ethiopia Historic Circuit by plane

5 days. Price: $890 approximately, pending flight costs. Transportation, entry fees, etc. Prices may vary depending on fluctuating air fairs. The itinerary will be adjusted according to flights Minimum 2 passengers.  Longer itineraries at additional hotel costs allow for a more relaxed program.

Day 1: ADDIS ABABA - BAHIR DAR, road distance ± 580km;

  1. Stop at the bridge across the Blue Nile Gorge, comparable in size to the Grand Canyon in the USA and supposedly the largest canyon of Africa;

  2. In the evening visit the Blue Nile falls if arrival before dark;

  3. Sleep at simple but beautifully located Ghion Hotel at the waterfront of Bahir Dar.


  1. Start at airport

  2. Flight Lalibela;

  3. Visit the Rock Hewn Churches compound;

  4. Visit Lalibela Church Treasury Museum;

  5. Hotel.

Day 2: LAKE TANA - BLUE NILE FALLS, road distance ± 35km

  1. Day excursion by boat on Lake Tana to visit several of the famous Lake Tana churches and monasteries;

  2. Visit of the Blue Nile Falls;

  3. Sleep at Ghion Hotel.


  1. Flight to Axum;

  2. Visit the Stelae compound;

  3. Visit the Arc of the Convenant Church;

  4. Visit Emperor Kaleb's Palace;

  5. Coffee ceremony at a ceremony in a friend's home

  6. Hotel.

Day 3: BAHIR DAR - GONDAR, road distance ± 175km

  1. The Devil's Nose Rock, is a basaltic monolith or hoodoo, located near the village of Addis Zemen, 75km north Bahir Dar on the road to Gondar. On its top is an important roost and possibly nesting place for Ruepell's and other vultures.

  2. Check in in the hotel at Gondar after which a visit to Mentewab's Castle and/or Fasimile's Bathroom depending on available time;

  3. Hotel in Gondar.


  1. Visit Royal Enclosure Fasil Ghebbi;

  2. Visit Mentewab's Castle, Fasimile's Bathroom and Fasil Ghebbi, the Royal Enclosure;

  3. Hotel.

Day 4: GONDAR - AXUM, road distance ± 350km

  1. Early in the morning visit the Royal Enclosure, Fasil Ghebbi;

  2. Road trip to Axum;

  3. Coffee ceremony;

  4. Hotel in Axum.

Day 4: GONDAR - BAHIR DAR by car

  1. Drive to Bahir Dar

  2. Day Excursion by boat on Lake Tana to visit several of the famous Lake Tana churches and monasteries;

  3. Hotel in Bahir Dar

Day 5: AXUM - MEKELE, road distance  ± 250km

  1. Visit the famous beautiful Stellae at Axum;

  2. Visit Emperor Kaleb's Palace;

  3. Ride to Mek'ele;

  4. On the way, visit Yeha Temple;

  5. Hotel in Mek'ele.


  1. Early morning visit Blue Nile Falls;

  2. Return flight Addis Ababa;

  3. Trip finishes at the airport.

Day 6: MEKELE - WUKRO - MEKELE, road distance  ± 45km

  1. Visit Rock Hewn Churches in Wukro;

  2. Visit Palace Emperor Yohannes IV;

  3. Hotel in Mek'ele.


Day 7: MEKELE - LALIBELA, road distance ± 430km

  1. Leave early in the morning for Lalibela;

  2. Church treasures museum Lalibela

  3. Hotel Tulkul in Lalibela.


Day 8: LALIBELA - DESSIE, road distance ± 300km

  1. Visit the churches of Lalibela;

  2. Drive to Dessie;

  3. Hotel in Dessie.


Day 9: DESSIE - ADDIS ABABA road distance ± 340km

  1. last day of the Ethiopia Historic Circuit and return trip to Addis Ababa;

  2. Transfer to hotel.



Ethiopia modernizes and changes more rapidly than any other country in Africa. Many features may not be there anymore in the near future. If you want to see it the way it was for thousands of years, see it now before it has changed forever! Compose your own once-in-a-lifetime Ethiopia-Africa-Adventure from our affordable modules:

Famous Ethiopia Historical Circuit

Simien Mountains trek or car visit

Danakil Depression and Erte Ale Volcano Expedition

Awash Babile Harar Safari Tour

Ethiopia Central and Southern Parks & Tribes Safari Tour

Bale Mountains National Park and Sof Omar Caves Tour

Gambella National Park Safari

Addis Ababa City Tour & Airport Transfer

All Ethiopia modules and prices together

We designed our itineraries in such a way that you can compose a 2 to 4 weeks journey from different modules that can show you the entire country or just the parts that interest you, all depending on your personal preferences, available time and budget. Email us on your interests and we can discuss a custom program with you by phone (we have phone lines from the USA and Europe) or skype. So, weather you have a great ethnic affinity, are a birdwatcher or want to go on safari, contact us and we work out a customized program that focuses on YOUR interests.

Blue Nile Falls, EthiopiaSt. George Church, LalibelaStellas, Axum, EthiopiaTukuls, Lalibela, EthiopiaElephant bull, Babile, EthiopiaEthiopian Wolf, Bale National Park

Gelada, Simien Mountains National ParkFacilides Bathroom, Gondar, EtiopiaWabia Ibex, Simien MountainsChurch, Lake Tana, EthiopiaErica trees, Bale Mountains National Park.Facilides Castle, Gondar, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is home of Ethiopian Airlines, featuring Africa's youngest fleet of the latest intercontinental jet airplanes - including 2 Dreamliners - as well as short-distance Bombardier turboprops for very comfortable, affordable and reliable in-country flights servicing all major cities of Ethiopia. The second best airline of Africa, will fly you non-stop from the USA and Europe to Addis Ababa. Take our 1-week Ethiopia Cultural Monuments Tour and than continue for your Kenya or Tanzania safari - or any other East African capital - thus completing your journey. IF YOU BUY YOUR INTERNATIONAL TICKET FROM ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, YOU WILL GET MOST INTERNAL FLIGHTS FOR $25 - $35 PER LEG! BUT CHANGING AFTERWARDS IS EXPENSIVE, SO WORK OUT A SCHEDULE WITH US TO GET A FABULOUS DEAL FOR FLYING THROUGH THE COUNTRY IN STEAD OF SPENDING ENDLESS TIME ON THE ROAD!!!

Phone USA:

(++)(1) 304 - 581 - 7740

Phone Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (++251) (0) 911 440 915
Email: [email protected]

Talk or chat with us on Skype in English, Spanish or French. Our Skype name:


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National Parks Tours Worldwide is a brand name of the World Institute for Conservation & Environment, registered in the Netherlands with headquarters in the USA, a social responsibility and conservation company.