Gondar or Gonder (Ge'ez: Gnder, older Gandar, modern pronunciation Gender) is a city in Ethiopia, which was once the old imperial capital and capital of the historic Begemder Province. As a result, the old province of Begemder is sometimes referred to as Gondar. Located in the Semien Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, Gondar is north of Tana Lake on the Lesser Angereb River and southwest of the Simien Mountains.The city is nicknamed "The Camelot of Africa" due to the presence of a group of royal castles. Until the 16th century, the Solomonic Emperors of Ethiopia usually had no fixed capital, instead living in tents in temporary royal camps as they moved around their realms while their family, bodyguard and retinue devoured surplus crops and cut down nearby trees for firewood. One exception to this rule was Debre Berhan, founded by Zara Yaqob in 1456; Tegulet in Shewa was also essentially the capital during the first century of Solomonic rule. Beginning with Emperor Menas in 1559, the rulers of Ethiopia began spending the rainy season near Lake Tana, often returning to the same location again and again. These encampments, which flourished as cities for a short time, include Emfraz, Ayba, Gorgora, and Dankaz. Gondar was founded by Emperor Fasilides around the year 1635, and grew as an agricultural and market town. There was a superstition at the time that the capital's name should begin with the letter 'Ga' (modern pronunciation 'Ge'; Gonder was originally spelt Gandar), which also contributed to Gorgora's (founded as Gargara) growth in the centuries after 1600. Tradition also states that a buffalo led the Emperor Fasilides to a pool beside the Angereb, where an "old and venerable hermit" told the Emperor he would locate his capital there. Fasilides had the pool filled in and built his castle on that same site. The emperor also built a total of seven churches; the first two, Fit Mikael and Fit Abbo, were built to end local epidemics. The five emperors who followed him also built their palaces in the town.