In March 2012, Selamawit – the Youth Worker who runs the Kindu Klub youth group in Gondar – organized an outing to the Gondar Castles for 76 of our sponsored children.
The kids met at The Kindu Trust’s offices early on a Saturday morning and walked 1.5 km to the Royal Enclosure (a world heritage site), where they were given a guided tour around the castles.
There are a number of different castles within the Royal Enclosure, the oldest was built by Emperor Fasiledes in the 1640s when he established Gondar as his capital.
Subsequent castles were built by his descendants. The Royal Enclosure also contains several Churches, the remains of a bathing pavilion and cages that were designed to contain lions and tigers.
After the tour, the children were given biscuits and drinks before going home. The Kindu Trust is proud to be able to offer the opportunity for our beneficiaries to discover the historic treasures of the country in which they live.
Here are two accounts of the trip from our sponsored children
BY HELEN FEKADU
We all met in The Kindu Trust Compound on the time we were told to appear. We were counted by Tadele and the total number of beneficiary students was identified. Then, he gave us information what we have to do in every walks of the visiting like taking the right way and not walking across roads unless we are told to do so. All the children were acting accordingly. It was really very attractive walk to the castle. It was through the foot ball field we pass through. We have also seen children who played foot ball in the field and we were very happy seeing children in the foot ball field playing foot ball.
Finally, we arrived near the gate of the castle where we have seen very green grass which is very lovely. Fortunately, some children diverted their attention towards the opposite direction looking pigs which were appealing with white colour which are 4 in number and passing through the road near to the castle compound. When we enter to the compound we have seen persons who were building a house may be it will be used for ticket office. There were both sexes (male and female) who participated in the work which is very interesting seeing both sexes working equally.
A guide came and gave us a warmly greeting and started telling us about the Castle. He was begun by saying that the area of the compound has 70,000 square meters. It was built in 1632. It has 12 entrances. Some of them named:
ü Enkoye Ber– a gateway which is used for the entrance and exit of beautiful woman.
ü Ergeb Ber- a gateway which is used for the entrance and exit of humble persons
There were six kings who had a crown in this compound. The first king was Atse Fasiledes and his children and great children.
- The Castle of Alemseged Fasile Building (1632-1667). There is a room which was used as a sit of the king in this building. It has window which was used to give greeting for the king whenever somebody pass through around by putting off their cape. This room was constructed by the order of the son of Fasiledes named Atse Yohannes.
Then, we went to a building which was used to rehearse and present song. The guide told us that it was a room where both traditional music and religious songs were presented. The building was made by Atse Eyasu, garnd son of Atse Fasiledes.
The visit was completed by looking the palace of Queen Tewabech who used the building to train women different skills like spinning cotton manually. We also told that there is building used as store of documents and other necessary materials.
Finnally, the visit was concluded having a photograph together and eating cookies prepared by The Kindu Trust.
I very thank you for The Kindu Trust and coordinators who organize and facilitate this visit. We learn a lot which will be important for our future life.
BY KALKIDAN BIZUAYEHU
It was early in the morning that we all the Kindu Club students appeared in The Kindu Trust Office. In the tour, all the participant children were behaving very well chatting friendly and cordially. Anyone can read happiness from the students face. We went through the mini-football stadium that the Kindu club children use to play foot ball every Friday and we have seen some children who were playing foot ball.
When we close to the gate of the Castle, we have seen foreign tourist who were on the way to enter to the castle compound to visit. Moreover, in the gate of the castle there is quotation written on its fence which says “ Let us Keep the Ancient Heritages” which has an implication that every one of us are responsible to keep and pass over the ancient legacies to the coming generations. We were also lucky to see very beautiful trees which seem long in age. The other special event that we saw 4 pigs in the road near to the castle which are white in colour which was the first time for most of us. The pigs look neat which shows they have been kept properly by the owners.
Then, the coordinators advise us not to talk much instead to follow everything attentively and entered in to the castle compound. We all told to take rest under the tree and some introduction about the history of the compound was given by the guide in the compound with some orientation. From the guide explanation we have learned that the castle has area coverage of 70,000 square meters.
The places were built in the 17th century. The materials used to build these palaces are black stone and limestone, which was buried for three years to make it sticky.
What greatly amazing me is the method they were used to collect water in a water tank which has high deep height in the ground. They were used this water in dry season collecting in the rain season. There is also a tube used to bring water when its volume decreases which looks like what is being used today.
We moved to the next building named Atse Eyasu Palace. The guide explained that it was bonded by Gold. There is a bridge called ‘Kob Astel’ in the outside which was used to go to the nearby church. The bridge name was given to show that ordinary people were giving respect by put off their capes whenever they pass through that way. There is a hall which was used as meeting space for different political and religious affairs.
There is another building which was used for lion’s home. In these rooms, the female and the male lions were living separately. There is a door which was opened to make relationship between the male and the female. These lions were manifestations of hero for the kings. .
The guide also has shown us in a near distance a building which was used as a palace by Queen Mintwab. We were not able to enter this palace as there are materials inside. According to the guide, as she was very good in preparing food and spinning cotton manually, she used that building as a training centre for women to make them skilful and as good as she did. The queen was telling the trainee to train others after they completed their trainings.
I want to remind you is that the coordinators particularly Tadele was running here and there to pick photographs in each steps of the visit. Other coordinators Selamawit and Abraham were glancing and caring all the children. Moreover, the guide was encouraging the children to ask any question which were not clear to them in every explanation and some children were asking question.
Oh, it is very astonishing which I have never seen in my life. The castle of Fasiledes, which is very amazing and beautiful. All foreigners and local people are running to visit this amazing and incredible ancient castle. It is very very incredible and lovely, indeed,.
At the end of the visiting, we were invited cookies and advice was given to go together with those who are in the same village.
We, the 21st children have to learn that we have to keep this incredible castle properly and pass to the next generation and we have to work hard to create new history to make Gondar popular again.
In the future we are hoping to purchase a minibus which will enable us to explore further afield, into the Simian Mountains, Lake Tana and perhaps even Axum.