Lakes and rivers in Ethiopia

Lake Tana

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If I were to live in Ethiopia, I would choose neither Addis Ababa nor Gondar, but Bahar Dar. Emperor Haile Selassie would certainly agree, as he built his palace, and once tempted to move the Ethiopian capital here. ( I am sure my ethiopian friends wuld be disappointed by this statement as they thought i loved Harar most. Emu, Brook and Beza, what are your views on this?)


Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia is the source of the Blue Nile from where it starts its long journey to Khartoum and on to the Mediterranean. The 37 islands that are scattered about the surface of the Lake shelter fascinating churches and monastries, some of which have histories dating back to the 13th Century.

However, it should be noted that most of the religious houses are not open to women. The most interesting islands are: Birgida Mariam,  Dega Estefanous, Dek, Narga, Tana Cherkos, Mitsele Fasiledes, Kebran and Debre Maryam. Kebran Gabriel is the principal monastery which can be visited by male tourists from Bahar Dar with its impressive Cathedral-like Building first built at the end of the 17th Century. Dega Estephanos, which is also closed to women, is on an island in the lake, and is reached by a very steep and winding path. Although the church is relatively new (only one hundred years old), it houses a Madonna painted in the 15th century. However, the treasury of the monastery is a prime attraction with the remains of several emperors, as well as their robes and jewels.