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11 Nov 2015

The imperial city of Gondar took its name from the cushtic word “gon” (great) and the semetic word “dar” (city) to form the word Great city. One tradition suggests that its name was derived from gon eder, whose translation is “sleep on your side.”This arises from the story that after a long fight between two brothers, one of them exclaimed to the other: Gon eder! “Sleep on your side, on your ears!”, i.e. in peace.

The city was built on a volcanic plain surrounded by forests and crossed by two rivers which from a gateway to the south, Lake tana. For some two hundred years, Gondar was the center of the Ethiopia of the Neguse Negiste. The construction of catles, baths and churches that remain to this day bear witness to almost a century of splendor.

The peculiar architecture of Gondar began with the castle-palace of Fasilidas, which was built on a large area surrounded by twelve gates that formed the imperial city enclave with Gondar itself. There are other notable constructions, including the palaces of Eyasu and Bakaffa and the Library of Yohannes I.

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