Destination: Bahir Dar -Lake Tana monasteries
Tour title: Natural with cultural tour
Tour Code: TT-1002
Duration: Half day boat trip
Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia; with a surface area of 3500km2, and it is also the source of the Blue Nile River and the 39 islands makes Lake Tana the most breathtaking site in Ethiopia.
Debre Maryam monastery was founded by Abuna Tselalesh near the Nile outlet in the 14th century during the reign of Amde Tsion (1315-1345). Debre Mariam Island is the ideal place watching wetland and forest birds and majestic hippopotamus.
Kibran Gabriel and Entos Iysus
Kibran Gabriel was founded in the 14th century during the reign of Amde Tsion and rebuilt during the reign of Emperor Iyasu I (1682-1706). Its lies on a tiny, forested crescent- presumably part of the rim of an extinct volcano. Near Kibran Gabriel, there is Entos Iyesus Monastery. Both Kibran Gebriel and Entos have served for long years as monasteries dedicated only for monks and nuns respectively. Kibran Gabriel boasts no paintings, but it houses the largest library (musem) of ancient books of any church in the region –almost 200 volumes in total including a beautiful illustrated 15th century Life of Christ.
Korata Wolete Petros monastery
The most populous and important port on Lake Tana for much of the Gondarine period, Korata was also once the most beautiful city in Ethiopia in ancient time, according to Guglielmo Lejean, a French explorer who visited Korata in 1862. Korata is situated on a forested peninsula located eastern shore about 20km northeast of present-day Bahir Dar. The town supported more than 15,000 people in its prime, but it fell into decline towards the end of the 19th century, and was reduced to little more than a ghost town following a murderous attack by the Italian occupiers in 1936. The most significant relict of the old town is a church dedicated to Wolete Petros, a nun of aristocratic birth who suffered immense persecution during the reign of the Catholic converts Emperor Susenyos due to her outspoken refusal to convert, and is now one of the few female saints recognised by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The original church, by all accounts one of the most beautiful in Ethiopia, was destroyed by an Italian hand grenade, but its replacement, built in the 1940s, houses several treasures including an armoured dress reputedly worn by Wolete Petros prior to her death on Rema Island in 1643, and a tapestry donated by Tewodros II.
Ever green forested Zeghe peninsula is a home of 7 historical monasteries. URA Kidane Mihret church. Ura Kidane Mihret ranks not only as the most impressive of the southern monasteries, but also possibly the most beautiful church anywhere in Tana region. This monastery was founded in the 14th century by a saint called Aba yohhanes and the present church was built in the 16th century. In the peninsula, there are other monasteries such as Azwa Maryam, Mahilzegie Giorgis (Betre Maryam and Yiganda Tekele Haymanot.
Tana Chirkos, the oldest monastery in Ethiopia, is situated to the eastern shore of Lake Tana where one can observe life and rituals that have hardly been changed since the Old Testament. This monastery had been used as one of the four places of ancient Judaic worship where sacrificial stones are still found. This scarifying stone testifies to the island’s importance as a Judaic religious shrine in pre-Christian times. It is believed that the Ark of the Covenant had been kept for 800 years before it was taken to Aksum. The founder of Ethiopian church music, St. Yared has written his first book of song called Degua at this monastery
Kiristos Semira monastery
Separated from Tana Cherkos Monastery by River Gumara, a tributary to Lake Tana, the Monastery of Kiristos Semira is a religious place given a special prestige by its believers. The church is situated on a hill called Guangut which is found at the edge of Lake Tana and beautified by different species of plants and songs of birds. The hill on which the monastery lies is a natural tower that allows a perfect view of the magnificent stretch of Lake Tana from the front, Daga Estifanos, Mitsly Fasiledes and Rema Medhane Alem monasteries from a little farther and Tana Cherkos from the boarder. This monastery which is said to have got its present shape in the 14th century during the reign of Emperor Dawit has been rebuilt at different times.
Daga Istafanos monastery
Daga Istafanos lies on a small wedge-shaped island immediately east of the much larger Dek Island. Daga was founded in the late 13th century by Hiruta Amlak during the reign of Emperor Yekuno Amlak. The main point of interest at Daga Istafanos today is the mausoleum, which contains mummified remains of at least five Ethiopian medieval Emperors namely Yikuno Amlak, Dawit I, Zara Yakob, Susneyos and Emperor Fasilidas.
Narga Selassie monastery
The monastery of Narga Selassie is situated on the western shore of Dek island. It was founded by Empress Mintewab in the 18th century. Its architectural style has resemblance with the buildings of Gonder. Narga is the most ornately decorated of all the lake monasteries. As with Ura Kidane Mihrte, the inner walls are covered from top to bottom with a riotous and absorbing collection of paintings, most thought to date from the 18th century.
Meet our representative/guide at the lobby of your hotel or anywhere in town. The guide will give you highlight information about your boat trip then together take one of our comfortable boats to the scheduled church/ monasteries afterwards return back to Bahir Dar.