Royal Enclosture Gondar, Ethiopia

FAMOUS GONDAR CASTLES OF ETHIOPIA, LOCATED IN FASIL GHEBBI, a 7 ha royal enclosure or fortress city protected by an embattlemented curtain wall. This was the residence of Ethiopia's emperors from the 1640s until 1864; today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a testimony to the most advanced sub-Saharan civilization.


A picture is worth a thousand words. Most of our hundreds of pictures are favored in Google! Why? Because no other website has so many beautiful high resolution pictures, taken by ourselves. Our pictures not only show you the beauty of Ethiopia, but they also show that we go everywhere, photographing wildlife, plants, people and culture. They show our professionalism, our keen eye for detail and our passion for the culture and nature of Ethiopia. So why consider booking our our Ethiopia Culture & National Parks modules? Because we don't mislead you like many tour operators do. When the Blue Nile falls are dry.... we tell you. When fog clouds the lava lake of Erte Ale? We let you know. Just drop us a mail and we will check it out for you.

Our tours get you to ALL the 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; Eastern 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 may be very costly. So let us help you plan your entire trip and book your local flights for an incredibly low price after you booked your international flight with Ethiopian Airlines!


From the 13th - 17th centuries, the predecessors of Emperor Fasilides lived in fortified camps, called katama, which they moved continuously through the empire. This custom that was brought to an end by by King Fasilides who declared Gondar as the capital in 1636 and commissioned the building of Fasil Ghebbi, often referred to as the Camelot of Africa.


The 900m crenellated wall of the royal enclosure was accessed through 12 gates, 3 with bridges. Each subsequent emperor added a new palace, thus increasing the number of castles, palaces and churches. Eventually Fasil Ghebbi protected the following castles and churches: Fasilides castle - also referred to as Enqulal Gemb (Egg Castle, for its egg-shaped roofs on the towers)-, Iyasu's Palace, Dawit's Hall, a banqueting hall, stables, Mentewab's Castle, a chancellery, library and Asasame Qeddus Mikael, Elfin Giyorgis and Gemjabet Mariyam Church, their architecture showing Arab, Indian, and Baroque styles and influences.


Iyasu I, Fasilides' grandson, was was the greatest king of the Gondar period. Supposedly, his castle was finer than the House of Solomon with its walls decorated with ivory, Venetian mirrors and paintings of palms and its ceiling covered with gold-leaf and precious stones.


Iyasu became very depressed when his favorite wife died and abandoned affairs of state. His son, Tekla Haimanot, murdered him after declaring himself emperor, but the latter in his turn was killed. His successor was set aside and the next king was killed by poisoning. Emperor Bakaffa finally brought stability and left behind 2 castles, one for himself and another for his wife, the Empress Mentewab. Bakaffa's son, Iyasu II, is was the last Gondar Emperor ruling with full authority.


There are excellent English speaking guides who will tell you all about the fabulous history of this fascinating country.


For additional reading we highly recommend: Emperors of Ethiopia as well as Palaces of Ethiopia.


ROYAL ENCLOSURE GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Fasilides castle - also referred to as Enqulal Gemb (Egg Castle, for its egg-shaped roofs on the towers).

FASIL GHEBBI, GONDAR: 900m crenellated wall or embattlemented wall of the royal enclosure with crenels, merlots, turret and gate.

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

900m crenellated wall of the royal enclosure with crenels, merlots, turret and gate.


FASIL GHEBBI, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Overview Royal Enclosure at Gondar.


Overview Royal Enclosure at Gondar.


Palace of Iyasu I, left and Fasilides' Castle.


ROYAL ENCLOSURE GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Fasil Ghebbi with view on Fasilides' archive.

FASIL GHEBBI, GONDAR: Chancellery with library Library of Yohannes I, Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar

Fasil Ghebbi with view on Fasilides' archive.

Chancellery with library Library of Yohannes I.


FASIL GHEBBI, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Dining room Fasilides' Castle, Gondar

FASIL GHEBBI, GONDAR: Passage between dining and reception areas Facilides' Castle, Ethiopia

Dining room Fasilides' Castle.

Passage between dining and reception areas.


ROYAL ENCLOSURE GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Interior Fasilides' castle, Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar

FASIL GHEBBI, GONDAR: Ceiling Fasilides' Castle, Ethiopia

Interior Fasilides' castle.

Ceiling dining room Fasilides' Castle


FASIL GHEBBI, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Facilides archive tower at Fasil Ghebbi.

FASIL GHEBBI, GONDAR: Facilides archive tower with chairway at Fasil Ghebbi.

ROYAL ENCLOSURE GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: The Archive Castle of King Fasilides built it for archiving documents.

Above: Facilides' Archive tower.


Left: The Archive Castle of King Fasilides built it for archiving documents.

FASIL GHEBBI, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Yohannis I's Castle seen from a gate.

Yohannis I's Castle.

FASIL GHEBBI, GONDAR: Yohannis I's Castle with Fasilides Archive in the background.

FASIL GHEBBI, GONDAR: Yohannis I's Castle at Fasil Ghebbi in baroque style.

FASIL GHEBBI, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Elfin Giyorgis Church at Fasil Ghebbi

Above: Elfin Giyorgis Church. right: Mentewab's castle.

FASIL GHEBBI, GONDAR: Mentewab's castle fasil Ghebbi

ROYAL ENCLOSURE GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Banquet hall of the Emperor Bekaffa and the concert hall of Dawit III.

FASIL GHEBBI, GONDAR: Stables and the Banquet Hall of the Emperor Bekaffa.

FASIL GHEBBI, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA: Interior of the Banquet Hall of the Emperor Bekaffa.

Top Left:  Banquet hall of the Emperor Bekaffa and the concert hall of Dawit III.


Top right: On the left in the picture stables and on the right the Banquet Hall of the Emperor Bekaffa.


Left: Interior of the Banquet Hall of Emperor Bekaffa.



Map Gondar Royal Enclosure, Fasil Ghebbi, with the Gondar castles of Ethiopia

Map Royal Enclosure, Fasil Ghebbi, with the Gondar Royal Enclosure.


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 1 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 affordable and reliable in-country flights servicing all major cities of Ethiopia. The 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 then 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 $40 - $70 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!!!


What makes us different from so many other tour operators?

Just look at the quality of our high resolution pictures. We took them all ourselves. We have thousands of high resolution pictures on this website, that you can see enlarged by clicking on them. These pictures show that we have been everywhere in the country of your interest and really know the details. We are professional explorers and biologists with MSc and PhD.


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


Phone USA:

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


Phone Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:

(++251) (0) 911 440 915



[email protected]


Skype: ecotravelworldwide


Parks Man Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil is author of this website. He dedicated his life to the conservation of nature., He was part of the team that selected the first 39 protected areas of Ecuador in the 1970s and he initiated the Cuyabeno Lodge in Ecuador's Amazon in 1985, making him one of the world's eco tourism pioneers. A speaker of 8 languages and having traveled to 80+ countries, Dr Daan Vreugdenhil has is one of the world's greatest connoisseurs of nature and national parks in the world. 

This website and its programs have been created by the renowned conservation biologist "Parks Man" Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil