Gonder, founded in the 17th century, has approximately 300 000 inhabitants. It is situated north of Lake Tana at an elevation of 2133 meters above sea level. The city previously served as the capital of both the Ethiopian Empire and the subsequent Begemder Province.
The city holds the remains of several royal castles which today serve as important tourist attractions. Of particular importance is Fasil Ghebbi or the Royal Enclosure, a walled compound holding several ancient castles and other remarkable buildings. Near the city lies Fasilides’ Bath, home to the annual ceremony Timkat (Epiphany) where the pool is blessed and then used for mass baptising.
Several old churches are dotted around Gonder. The beautiful decorated Debre Berhan Selassie church is worth a visit as is Kuskuam Mariam church, with its beautiful views of the city.