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Host City- Bahir Dar . Bahir Dar City is said to have founded during the first decades of the 20 th C. It is located at the southern tip of Lake Tana and become one of the leading tourist destinations in north western Ethiopia. The city has an altitude of 1830 meters above sea level and a tropical climate with an average temperature of 19oc.

photo by Habtie Mengistu

Likewise, Lake Tana is located in the northwestern Parts of Ethiopia some about 565km from Addis Ababa via Debre Marqos-Bahir Dar road. It is the largest lake in Ethiopia covers an area of 3600km2 and its depth is 9m. However, according to some sources the lake was formed by volcanic eruption. In addition, the lake is the source and from where the famed Blue Nile River starts its long journey to Khartoum and on to Mediterranean Sea. Moreover, the islands that are scattered over about the surface of the Lake Shelter, fascinating churches and monasteries are worth visiting. Some of which have histories dating back to the 13 th century. However, it should be noted that most of the monasteries are not open to women.

photo by Habtie Mengistu

Above all Lake Tana area was important in the 14 th, 15th and 16th centuries in view of its role in maintaining the Christian faith against contemporary pressures. Many of the earliest manuscripts and precious examples of ecclesiastical art as well as royal objects are safely stored in their treasuries. At the same time, new religious arts were developed and displayed in the churches. Thus, tourist sites found in and round Barhir Dar mainly the Lake Tana Region are presented as follows.

photo by Habtie Mengistu

Tourist Sites Inside Bahir Dar City At Bahir Dar days can be spent by leisurely walk through palm- lined avenues, lake side views and exploring the Nile, viewing spectacular sun set and riding a bicycle. Besides, St George church and the 16th c Portuguese building in the same compound are also worth visiting.

Portuguese building

St. George church

The Bazawit Hill Top. The Hill Top of Bezawit offers a spectacular view of the surroundings, the city, the Islands of Lake Tana and Blue Nile leaving the lake. Sometimes you can see hippopotamus in Lake Tana at the source of the Tiss Isat falls.

Bazawit Hill Top

At the hill top there is the palace of Emperor Haile Sellasie built in the 1960s, however, it is not yet open to the public. You can hire a taxi or ride a bicycle to move bezawit, to see the surroundings beautiful scenery. The Open Air Market. The open air market of Bahir Dar is one of the largest markets in northern Ethiopia. And if you want to feel your trip complete and have a remainder you have to discover this unique market to find handicrafts like jewelries, woven and embroidered garments, ox-horn cups, grass baskets /Agelgil/ for which Bahir Dar is known. You can see the hair, clothing and market exchange styles and other indigenous culture of the local

community. OpenAirMarket /Agelgil

Church Schools After introducing Christianity into Ethiopia in the 4 th c A.D, traditional church schools has been opened in many areas of the country. Thus, the Ethiopian Orthodox church is the earliest to begin education in Ethiopian. It has also its own part to start modern education in the country. Still there are famous traditional schools in Bahir Dar where prospective clergies learn Geez language, the earliest Ethiopian language and hymn writing on parchment. The system of education and the living styles of students in their small huts are amazing. Hence, get them at the side of St. George church or St. Michal Monastery.

Traditional church school

Amhara Region peoples Martyrs Memorial Monument . This monument is located in Bahir Dar city near the outlet of the Blue Nile River. But what makes the site unique is that the museum that contains the photograph of martyrs and their history, the art gallery, the amphitheater and the library. Moreover, its nearness to the Blue Nile River together with it attractive garden makes the area unforgettable.

Martyrs Memorial Monument

Blue Nile Falls. The falls are found at 30km to south of Bahir Dar near Tis Abay town. Here there is a spectacular basalt cliff where the Nile forms an incredible falls of 45 meters high, known as the Blue Nile falls. The noise, the force and the smoke created by this fall is really worth discovering. The Blue Nile Falls is locally called Tis Abay, meant water that smokes.


Recently a dam is built for hydropower, hence, the volume of the fall decreases during the dry season. Down to the power plant there is a historic bridge over the Nile River built in the 17th c., named Alata Bridge, while under the bridge you can see the massive water flow through a deep gorge.

The fall is accessed either by crossing the bridge or by a ferry above the power plant. Before a trip to the fall, remember to get a ticket at Tis Abay tourist information center.

Alata Bridge

Lake Tana and Its Island and Peninsula Monasteries. Lake Tana. The islands makes Lake Tana the most breathtaking site. These islands and peninsulas of Lake Tana host many monastic churches. These monasteries can be divided into the southern, the central and the northern monasteries. The most commonly visited ones taking Bahir Dar as spring board are the following. Debre Mariam Island . The island is located in the southern parts of Lake Tana at about 5km from Bahir Dar City. Here we find the Monasrty of DebreMariam Church established during the reign of Amde Tsion(r.1314-13440) while the church houses the oldest religious manuscripts and the 14th century paintings as well as the old drum made from clay. The area around the church is also named Gumare Bahir (Hippodromes Lake) due to the presence of many hippos. It is also called Abay Ras(Head of the Nile) as a result of the presence of mouth of the lake where the Blue Nile River rises. The Monastry of Kibran Gabreil and Entos Eyesus .These monasteries are located in the southern parts of the Lake at 7km to the north west of Bahir Dar City. The monasteries were founded in the reign of Amade Tsion in the 14 th C. However, the monastery is accessible only by boat. Kiran Gabriel houses Abune cloths made of metal, bed and sword, royal beds, different kinds of crosses and other religious treasuries while the church closed for women. Entos also owns ancient buildings believed to be used as prisons, ancient religious books, crosses made from silver and wood as well as wildlife like birds. The Zegie Peninsula Monastries. Most of the monasteries are situated to the south west edge of Lake Tana, and 20 kilometers from Bahir Dar. The Zege Peninsula is covered by a dense tropical forest and walking through the forest you can see birds, apes and bathe by the fragrance of strange lowers leads to the reverend monasteries. Ura Kidane Mihiret Monastry. The monastery of Ura is found hidden within the mangrove forest of the Zege Peninsula. Its architectural style is a typical example of the

Ethiopian Orthodox church having mud plastered round wall with conical thatched roof. Ura is known especially for its fine wall paintings, manuscripts, ecclesiastical objects like crown of various Emperors dated from the 14th c, crosses of silver & gold, silver- drum.

Ura Kidan Mihiret



Nearby there are monasteries such as Azewa Mariam , MahilZegie Giorgis Betre Mariam, and Yiganda Tekle Haimanot rich in religious collections and royal objects & particular identities of their own. Monasteries of the peninsula are open both for men & women. To make your vist complete in this isolated area, do not miss local artifacts like Jewelries, colorful baskets (the Amharic muday), paintings and manuscripts (replicas but not originals). Daga Estifanos monastery and the Island . This monastery is found at central part of Lake Tana and covered by jungle forests. The structure of the monastery is unique from other monasteries; it looks like a boat that exemplifies the boat of Noah that rescued human race from flood damage.

Daga Estifanis

Narga Sellassie Monastery. It is situated

at the largest island of lake Tana , DeK ,

near Daga.The church is made from wood, stone and limestone with huge wooden doors. The wall of the church decorated with a painting that tells us the history of the exile of St.Mary and her miracles. Her we find numerous religious books dated to one hundred years.

Narga Sellassie



Tana chrikos. It is situated to the eastern shore of the lake where one can observe Judaic sacrificial Materials. Her it is necessary to mention that there is a tradition which says that the Ark of the Convent was kept here for 800 years before it was moved to Axum in the 4 th c A.D by king Ezana. The monastery has beautiful island, sanctuary of birds of different species like humming birds, kingfishers, bright blue starlings and many others. Near this monastery there is the monastery of kirstos Semera.

Kirstos Semera Church Dressing Style – At Kirstos Simera Church

Gorgora and its Environs The old town of Gorgora is found at northern Shore of Lake Tana. It was the seat of Emperor Susenyos in the early 17 thc. Near Gorgora we found the monasteries of Debre Sina Mariam built in the 14thC, Mendaba Monastery, the palace of Susenyos and Sellassie Washa (The Trinity Cave) which is found after one and half hour journey by boat from Gorgora inside a hill that pushes back the lake to the south, east and west expanding its territory to the north. It has two entrances either from the north or east of the Lake.

Debre Sina Mariam

How to get to around Both by Air and land transport Where to stay Address Tourist Recommended Hotles



Boston lodge/Kuriftu Lodge and Spa



Papyrus Hotel



Abay M inch Hotel



BlueNile Hotel


Blue Nile Resort Hotel Gassa Hotel



Dibanbesa Hotel



Homeland Hotel



Summerland Hotel


Ethio-Star Hotel


Azwa Hotel


Newlight Restaurant


LakeShore Restaurant


Ghion Hotel


Starbacks Restaruant