Gondar, Addis Ababa - Stein Travel
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Gondar

Gondar is a city like no other, scattered with ancient castles, churches and endowed with magnificent mountain scenery and a pleasantly cool climate. Situated 460 miles (748km) north of Addis, this is the next clockwise step after Bahar Dar on the official Historic Route through Ethiopia.

Gondar was the capital of Ethiopia for 200 hundred years, which accounts for the abundant imperial architecture, most densely concentrated in the Royal Enclosure which contains five castles. The oldest, and most architecturally interesting, is the Castle of Fasilades which has Axumite, Portuguese and Indian elements. Near the edge of Gondar is the Church of Debre Birhan Selassie which dates from 1682 and contains the country's most celebrated ceiling murals.

Gondar is also a natural base for treks into the Simien Mountains and many companies tout their services. Choose carefully and get the opinion of recently returned trekkers before committing to a particular guide.

Information & Facts

Language

Amharic is the official language, although over 80 local languages are also spoken. English and Arabic are widely spoken as well as some French and Italian.

Money

The official currency is the Ethiopian Birr (ETB), which is divided into 100 cents. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks and authorised hotels. Credit cards have limited usage outside of Addis Ababa, and even in the capital they are only accepted by major establishments. Visitors should carry a supply of travellers cheques or hard currency with them, preferably in US dollars. ATMs are sparse, but banks are usually open every day except Sundays from 8am to 11am and 1pm till 4pm.

Time

Local time is GMT +3.

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