Guzara Castle

Northern Ethiopia

Though there’s little solid evidence about its history, this tall castle peering out over Lake Tana could have been built in the 1580s by Emperor Za-Dengel, founder of the Gonder dynasty, and thus would have been the prototype of Gonderian design. Or it may have been built later by Emperor Fasiladas. The attractive ruins are fun to explore, but probably not worth a detour unless you have your own transport.

It’s 74km south of Gonder and then east up a steep 1.3km 4WD track.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Northern Ethiopia attractions

1. Church of Debre Sina

23.28 MILES

The most interesting relic of Gorgora’s former days as a short-lived capital is the attractive Debre Sina church. Built in 1608 by Emperor Susenyos’ son…

2. Angara Tekla Haimanot

23.62 MILES

If you’re a serious monastery lover, or just want to stretch your legs on the way to and from the palace, Angara Tekla Haimanot's current church was built…

3. Birgida Maryam

24.01 MILES

The most rewarding of the monasteries is known for its jungle and dedicated monks. The building itself is fairly standard, but the highlight is a lovely…

4. Mandaba Medhane Alem

25.22 MILES

Of Tana’s four far-northern monasteries, all west of Gorgora, Mandaba Medhane Alem, which hosts ancient biblical manuscripts and some of Ethiopia’s most…

5. Mussolini’s Stele

25.23 MILES

Gorgora was a hard-fought prize during the Italian occupation and on the way into town you’ll pass Mussolini’s stele, high on a hill, which commemorates…

6. Tana Cherkos

26.56 MILES

It’s said the Ark of the Covenant was hidden at Tana Cherkos for 800 years, which would seem to indicate it’s an interesting destination, but the present…

7. Saturday Market

27.47 MILES

Originally the city’s weekly market, Kidame Gebya is now packed throughout the week, although Saturday remains the biggest day and Sunday is rather quiet…

8. Royal Enclosure

27.81 MILES

The Gonder of yesteryear was a city of extreme brutality and immense wealth. Today the wealth and brutality are gone, but the memories linger in this…