Gondar is the 17th-century capital of Ethiopia. Bordering Sudan and located on the northern shore of Lake Tana, it is one of the prominent historical areas in Ethiopia.
Officially founded by King Fasiladas in 1632, the Gondarine period is considered to be the third major dynasty after the Axumite and Zagwe dynasties. The dynasty is historically important for the renaissance king's mobile camp and the introduction of a permanent capital. The attempt by King Fasiladas to end the Zagwe dynasty was successful and set Gondar as Ethiopia's capital from 1632 to 1868.
Gondar's 17th century castles reflect the strong dynasty and the power of progressive rulers. The biggest and most magnificent castle of all, King Fasiladas' castle, which is still intact, was the first to be built. Seven of the dynasty's kings had their own castles built to show their power and independent, efficient ruling styles. What is special about the castles is that they demonstrate the progress in Ethiopian building styles and follow on from the rock-building traditions of the Axumite and Zagwe kings.
Additionally, Gondar was and is still noted as an active religious center. Among the churches in town, Debre Berhan Selassie is famous for its typically Gondarine style and its ceiling.
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