Ethiopia III Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

"Return to Ethiopia" Trip

September 22 - October 7, 2012

50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps in Ethiopia


October 2 - Tuesday

Fasilo Ghebbi (Royal Enclosure) - Gondar

The main feature of Gondar is Fasil Ghebbi or the Royal Enclosure. It is a fortress-enclosure with high stone walls.. It served as the home of Ethiopia's emperors in the 17th and 18th centuries. 

This complex of buildings includes Fasilides castle, Iyasu's Palace, Dawit's Hall, a banqueting hall, stables, Mentewab's Castle, a chancellery, library and three churches: Asasame Qeddus Mikael, Elfin Giyorgis and Gemjabet Mariyam.


Prior to the construction of Fasil Ghebbi , the Ethiopian Emperors travelled around their domain, living in tents and eating off the produce of their peasants. However, Emperor Fasilides broke with that  tradition and founded the city of Gondar as his capital. Because of this, the city is historically important. Within the capital, he built the Fasil Gemb or Fasilides Castle. Subsequent Emperors built their own structures around the castle and many still survive today.

Within the enclosure, Emperor Fasiladas built a palace. The palace has been completely restored and  is the oldest and most impressive of  the castles in the Royal Enclosure. It stands 32 meters tall and has a  parapet and four domed towers. The stone castle is reputed to be the work of an Indian architect, and shows an unusual blend of Indian, Portuguese, Moorish and Axumite designs. Some still refer to Fasiladas' Palace as the "Portuguese Castle" giving the false impression that the Portuguese ruled here.

The main floor of Fasiladas' Palace was used as a dining hall and formal reception area. The Star of David can be seen above several doorways, which affirms  Emperor Fasiladas' link to the Solomonic dynasty. The small room in the northern corner has its original beam ceiling with some faint frescoes on the walls.

The first floor prayer room has windows in four directions, each overlooking Gonder's important churches. From the roof, the Emperor addressed his people during religious ceremonies. It is also possible to see all the way to Lake Tana the watchtower.

There are  two Lion Houses in the Royal Enclosure where Abyssinian lions were kept until 1992. The first enclosure was built in the early eighteenth century and the second was built by Haile Selassie during his reign.


(Important note: All photographs, except where mentioned,  are copyrighted as of October 8, 2012, by Darrel and Betty Hagberg. Please request permission to use and please credit them).





























































Click below for more Photos of the trip

September 22 Ethiopian Embassy Reception
September 23 Dulles Airport
September 24 Addis Ababa Airport Reception
September 24 Addis Ababa City Views
September 24 Hebir Restaurant Dinner Show - Addis Ababa
September 25 Addis Ababa City Views
September 25 Ethiopian President Welcome
September 25 Kotebe College for Teachers - Addis Ababa
September 25 US Embassy Reception
September 26 Ethnological Museum - Addis Ababa
September 26 Saint George Cathedral - Addis Ababa
September 26 Mercato Market Place - Addis Ababa
September 26 Meskel Celebrations - Addis Ababa
September 27 National Museum - Addis Ababa
September 27 Mount Entoto Overlook - Addis Ababa
September 27 Trinity Cathedral - Addis Ababa
September 27 Debre Berhan
September 28 Debre Berhan
September 28 Ankober
September 29 Lalibella and Market
September 29 Yemrehanna Kristos Church, Bilbilla
September 30 Churches of Lalibella
October 01 Stelae Field - Axum
October 01 Tombs of Kaleb and Gebre Meskel - Axum
October 01 The Enzana Stone - Axum
October 01 Queen of Sheba's Palace - Axum
October 01 Monastic Complex of Saint Mary of Zion - Axum
October 02 Mai Shum (Queen of Sheba's Swimming Pool - Axum
October 02 Fasilo Ghebbi (Royal Enclosure) - Gondar
October 02 Debre Birhan Selassie Church - Gondar
October 02 Wolieka (Falasha Village) - Gondar
October 03 Fasilidas's Pool - Gondar
October 03 Barhar Dar
October  04 Blue Nile Falls - Barhar Dar
October  04 Lake Tana - Barhar Dar
October  04 Church of Ura Kidane Mihret - Barhar Dar
October  05 Dire Dawa - Harar
October 06 Red Terror Museum - Addis Ababa
October 06 Babile - Harar - Dire Dawa
October 07 Dire Dawa
October 07 Farewell Dinner at Crown Hotel - Addis Ababa


Click below for more Ethiopia Web Site features

Map of Ethiopia and Eritrea (circa 1964)
Ethiopia III Trainees Book
In Country Assignments, 1964-1966
Photo Memories of Ethiopia
Ethiopian Art and Culture
Ethiopia III's Attending the 50th Reunion
Books on Ethiopia
Ethiopian Artifact Exhibition
Return to Home Page


Click here to contact the Ethiopia III RPCV Committee by E-mail with up date information:

Ethiopia III Official Web Site

Copyrighted 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Betty McLaughlin Hagberg, Web Master

Updated on 9 November 2012