Can you imagine touring fairy-tale castles in the heart of Africa? This week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the Gondar region of Ethiopia. The fortresses of Fasil Ghebbi date to the 16th and 17th centuries, after the Ethiopians made contact with the Portuguese.
The Ethiopians may have rejected the Roman Catholic faith introduced by the Portuguese in favor of their own traditional version of Christianity, but they were apparently more impressed by Portuguese architecture. The castles of Fasil Ghebbi really do look like something out of the Brothers Grimm, leading Gadling to refer to Fasil Ghebbi as “Ethiopia’s Camelot.”
The castles aren’t strictly European, of course-they were also influenced by Hindu and Arab architecture as well as Ethiopia’s own native building styles. The end result is fantastic.
The first fortress in Gondar was founded by King Fasilides in the 16th century. Eight of his successors reigned there as well, including one queen, called Queen Mentaweb. Born a commoner, she became a queen when she married King Bacaffa, and ruled Ethiopia after his death.
Fasil Ghebbi was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1979.
American citizens do need a visa to visit Eithiopia. Theoretically, you can obtain a visa when you arrive at Bole International Airport. However, the US Department of State advises against this, saying
To avoid possible confusion or delays, travelers are strongly advised to obtain a valid Ethiopian visa at the nearest Ethiopian Embassy prior to arrival.
Here’s what you need to apply for an Ethiopian visa:
- 1 completed Ethiopian visa application form
- 1 passport-sized photo of yourself
- A copy of your round-trip itinerary
- Your US passport
RushMyTravelVisa can help make getting your Ethiopian visa much easier. We’ll take a look at your itinerary to make sure you know exactly what documents you need to travel, and we’ll provide easy-to-follow instructions that make filling out applications breeze and reduce the chance of common errors. Then, we submit your application to the appropriate visa or consulate for the fastest possible processing.