Gondar is one of the main tourist attractions on the northern historically circuit, best known for its 17th-century castles and palaces as well as the fantastically decorated church of Debra Birhan Selassie. Gonder was founded in 1635 by Emperor Fasilidas and was the imperial capital for 250 years prior to the rise of Emperor Tewodros.
The Fasil Ghebbi lies at the heart of modern Gondar and gives the city much of its character. This enclosure holds many castles with the most impressive castle being the original one. This first castle was built by Fasilidas Circa 1640. It is made of stone and shows a unique combination of Portuguese and even Indian influences. Than in the mid 20th century it was partially restored until 1999 when the castle was more fully restored, using the original construction methods, with UNSECO funding. Construction lasted until 2002.
Debre Birhan Selassie Today there are said to be 44 churches in Gondar, at least seven of which date from Fasilidasís rule. Debre Birhan Selassie, or Mountain of the enlightened Trinity, was one of these churches. Founded in the 1690s by Iyasu it was the most important church in the 18th century due to the fact that was the site of many royal burials. Debre Birhan Selassie is also the only one of these seven that was left completely untouched during an attack by the Dervish or Mahdist of Sudan in 1888. Debre Birhan Selassie was saved from the Dervish attacks by the intervention of a swarm of bees... or so they say in Gondar.