Conservation at Guzara Palace

3rd December 2018

Guzara Palace dating from the late sixteenth century with an excellent vantage point on volcanic slopes overlooking Lake Tana, Northern Ethiopia. The palace constructed from mass basalt walls bedded in lime and clay mortars is undergoing another round of conservation work.

Decayed structural hardwood timbers are being replaced with similar wood to allow timber lintels to continue to support these rubble walls. Small areas of worked limestone form the outer parts of some of the arches.

The lime mortar used to repoint this building are made by slaking quick lime in a wooden trough which then allows the lime to run into a pit below, through a mesh to collect the large amount of unslaked material. The lime pit is watered for a months before being covered over with earth that continues to be watered, allowing the lime to fully slake, become rich in calcium hydroxide and mature. I will be removed from the pit after 12 months or more. Much is mixed with crushed burnt limestone gravel and crushed finer material to form extremely lime rich mixes.