Ethiopia Tour 4:
Gondar and Addis Adaba

Gondar and Addis Adaba

The Ethiopian kings wandered for almost 600 years, in fuedal style, from castle to castle. Emperor Fusilades established his capital at Gonder.

The move signalled another shift in the heartland of Ethiopian. Grazni's invasion and the Oromo migration weakened the northern highlands. The Amhara, like the Zagwe before them, had been converted by the northerners to the general culture of Axum. Their language, while also Semitic, took another step away from Gaez, the "Latin" and church language of Ethiopia, and Tigre and Tigraniya, the languages of the north.

The Gondarine kingdom had its heights. The powerful castles below show this. However, as the years went on, the country again descended into feudalism with the Gondarines merely emperors in name.

A serious of kings of the 19th century gradually completed the final several steps in creating modern Ethiopia. The kings of Shewa in the south, often operating with complete independence of the "emperors" gradaully established a strong, independent state. While ruled by Amhara, they had a least as much Oromo blood as Amhara. Their city, Addis Adaba, sat much closer to the center of the country. Of course, their kings could claim the necessary royal blood.

Modern Ethiopian history concentrates on two tasks. First, Ethiopia spent most of its time from 1830 to 1940 keeping the imperial powers from conquering Ethiopia. Eventually, Ethiopia survived the process of imperialism mostly intact.

Meanwhile, the emperors of Ethiopia and later the dictators Mengistu and Menes, tried to solve the process of modernization. Ethiopia remains a fourth world country, mostly agricultural. Mengistu's weird attempts at socialism and authoritarianism didn't do much to alter this. The future remains unclear.


Welcome to Gondar. Gondar became the capital after the overthrow of the last Lalibelan king.

This is work in the style of the local Falasha (Jewish) residents the Falasha.

The tiny synagogue of the Falasha.

Here's the Falasha graveyard. The Falasha served as workers in various projects of the Christian kings. They filled positions in society others wouldn't take.

King Fusillades, of supposedly Axumite origin, overthrew
the last Lalibelan king and constructed a permanent capital.

Another view.

Note that this construction is NOT all stone but
wood-framed with the block limestone resting on it.

A familiar view.

Later kings each built their own castles on the same premises.

Note how each castle gets a bit smaller as the line declined a bit.

This is an important church in Gondar, Debre Birhan Selassie.

Here's the interior.

This is the tomb of Emperor Fusillades' horse.

This is Emperor Fusillades' pool. Here, they baptize/baptized young children.

Here's the author at the edge of the royal compound.

Yet another statue of Ras Mekonnen, the 19th Century uniter of Ethiopia.

This is the center of "modern Gondar." Other districts have less advanced housing.

Addis Adaba

This is Haile Selassie's symbol, the "Lion of Judah." Selassie
reunited the country after Gondar's decline.

This is modern Addis Adaba's main street.

Revolutionary Square was built by Mengistu, pseudo socialist dictator.


Related Ethiopian Tours:
Back to Tour 3: Harar
On to Tour 1: Axum

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