Travel Guide Africa Ethiopia Gondar

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Introduction

Gondar is an historic royal city of Ethiopia, in the Amhara region. It was the home of many emperors and princesses who ruled the country from the 12th century to the last decade of the 20th century, including Suseneos, Fasiledes, Empress Mentwab, Iyasu I, Tewodros II and Empress Taitu. Leading the list of its attractions is Fasil Ghebbi (the Royal Enclosure), containing several castles and palaces from the 17th and 18th centuries. Gondar was an historic royal city of Ethiopia from the 12th century to the last decade of the 20th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Sights and Activities

  • Fasil Ghebbi, the remains of a royal fortified city that was founded by Fasilides, emperor from 1632 to 1667 with the Fasilides' Castle, Iyasu's Palace, Dawit's Hall, Mentewab's Palace and some other buildings.
  • Fasilides Bath on the other side of the town.
  • Debre Birhan Selassie Church on the eastern outskirts of town built in the 17. century.
  • Around the Atse Tewodros Square the Italiens left some Art Deco colonial buildings.

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Getting There

By Plane

Gondar Airport is also named Atse Tewodros Airport. Ethiopian Airlines has daily flights from Addis Ababa – usually leaving Addis around 07:00. Flights are also available to/from Axum, Lalibela and Bahir Dar. Ethiopian Airlines flights are frequently cancelled or rescheduled at short notice, so allow plenty of time if travelling for an international connection.

By Bus

There are comfortable buses from Addis Abeba via Bahir Dar. To Axum the road is spectacular, but you must change bus in Shire.

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Getting Around

The blue and white minibuses run through the city efficiently. There are also some horse drawn taxis called garis. Both are inexpensive.
You can contract a small blue coloured taxi for a day or several days during your visit.
Tuktuks/bajajs (three-wheeled motor vehicles) are ubiquitous and inexpensive: rides around the city shouldn't cost more than 10 birr -and often should be substantially less- during the day time, and no more than ~25 birr at night (Jan 2015).
There is no regular minibus service from the airport into town, so it is best to make arrangements with your hotel in advance. Otherwise a seat in a shared taxi goes for 50 Birr.

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Drink

The pure tej (without sugar - only from honey), tela (korefe, tiru) are the local famous drinks. They are also common throughout Ethiopia, particularly in the Amhara region, although there is some sugar. Factory beers of all kinds are found. It is very common to get Dashen Beer, as Dashen Brewery is in Gondar.

There are a number of bars and clubs with music and dancing on the street running down the slope from Walia Ibex roundabout (with a statue of an ibex in the centre) towards Atse Tewodros Square. The Walya club is on the corner of the ibex roundabout; down the slope there are the Balageru, the Atse Bakafa and others.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is slow and is better early in the morning or middle of the night. There are numerous internet cafes in Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Nazret, Bahir Dar, Gonder, Awasa and other cities; however their speeds are often dial-up at best, and some operate illegally. In Addis Ababa, connection speeds are more than adequate for performing tasks such as checking e-mail most of the time.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Ethiopa's international telephone code is 251.

For all travellers, having a mobile phone is a must. It is cheap and easily available. There are only a few stores renting SIM cards including ArifMobile. However, purchasing a SIM is inexpensive, and can be done anywhere that sells phones. The best spot is to buy it at a Ethio Telecom shop to not get ripped of. A SIM card costs 15 birr and the system requires the seller to take a photo of you and your passport information to activate your SIM. You'll have to sign an agreement that you will not commit any crimes with your phone. All local stores will have calling cards you can purchase to call internationally. For domestic calls, phones are topped up with a prepaid card, available in denominations of 2000, 500, 100, 50 and 25 birr and smaller.

Post

The Ethiopian postal service is one of the most efficient postal services in Africa.

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Contributors

as well as UliS (7%)

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This is version 6. Last edited at 14:49 on May 18, 18 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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