Palace of Fasiladas
- Royal Enclosure Area
- admission Br50, personal video cameras Br75
- 08:30-12:30 & 13:30-17:30
Lonely Planet review for Palace of Fasiladas
Almost completely restored with the help of Unesco, the Palace of Fasiladas is the Royal Enclosure's oldest and most impressive castle. It stands 32m tall and has a crenulated parapet and four domed towers. Made of roughly hewn stones, it's reputedly the work of an Indian architect, and shows an unusual synthesis of Indian, Portuguese, Moorish and Aksumite influences.
The main floor was used as a dining hall and formal reception area; note the recessed Star of David above several doorways, which trumpet Fasiladas' link to the Solomonic dynasty. The small room in the northern corner boasts its original beam ceiling and some faint frescoes.
On the 1st floor, Fasiladas' prayer room has windows in four directions, each overlooking Gonder's important churches. On the roof, religious ceremonies were held, and it was from here that the emperor addressed his people. Above Fasiladas' 2nd-floor bedroom was the watchtower, from where it's possible to see all the way to Lake Tana.
Behind the castle's eastern corner are various ruined buildings, including the remains of the kitchen (domed ceiling) and water cistern (thought by some to be a pool).