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GONDAR

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 231 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GONDAR, properly GvENDAR, a town of Abyssinia, formerly the capital of the Amharic kingdom, situated on a basaltic ridge some 7500 ft. above the sea, about 21 M. N.E. of Lake Tsana, a splendid view of which is obtained from the castle. Two streams, the Angreb on the east side and the Gaha or Kaha on the west, flow from the ridge, and meeting below the town, pass onwards to the lake. In the early years of the 20th century the town was much decayed, numerous ruins of castles, palaces and churches indicating its former importance. It was never a compact city, being divided into districts separated from each other by open spaces. The chief quarters were those of the Abun-Bed or bishop, the Etchege-Bed or chief of the monks, the Debra Berhan or Church of the Light, and the Gemp or castle. There was also a quarter for the Mahommedans. Gondar was a small village when at the beginning of the 16th century it was chosen by the Negus Sysenius (Seged I.) as the capital of his kingdom. His son Fasilidas, or A'lem-Seged (1633-1667), was the builder of the castle which bears his name. Later emperors built other castles and palaces, the latest in date being
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