Gondar is known as ‘Africa's Camelot', thanks to the numerous classical stone castles and palaces found around its centre. Emperor Fasiladas made Gondar his capital in 1636 and it grew into a fabulous town of great riches. Many of the grand landmarks of the day still remain and a stop here is well worth including in a trip to the north of Ethiopia. Gondar also works as a handy base from which to explore the Simien Mountains to the north and Lake Tana and the Blue Nile to the south.
Like Axum, Gondar has retained much of its old art and architecture despite years of change and at times, heavy conflict. The Royal Enclosure, in the centre of Gondar, houses many of the town's historical gems, including the Palace of Fasiladas, the Palace of Iyashu I, a banquet hall, emperor's library, lion houses - where Abyssinian lions were kept until 1992 - and Turkish baths.