Bahir Dar on Lake Tana. 054

We organize a boat trip to the Lake Tana island monasteries. In the morning we leave. In a nutshell, with a very nice boat man and three other participants, we start to the first island.

Bahir Dar, Lake Tana
Lake Tana Tour boats

Our first monastery is Entos Eyesu. It is a circular building with simple construction on a hill overlooking the lake. It is an active monastery, two monks live in the compound. Not at all monasteries women are allowed to enter.

Bahir Dar, Lake Tana
Monk on the island

On the way at Lake Tana we see many Papyrus boats. The boats can be up to 10 meters long and are made ​​of papyrus stalks, which are tied into bundles. The lines are obtained from the fig tree. After some time of usage it must be dried again. To date, a large part of all goods, such as wood are transported with such boats between the islands and the mainland. Supposedly, the boats can carry up to half a ton.

Bahir Dar, Lake Tana
Papyrus Boat transporting fire wood

We land on the island monastery Zeghie. Actually a peninsula that is accessible only during the dry season over land. As more visitors come here, souvenir stalls have established. A simple building forms the entrance to the monastery area.

The monastery church is well attended. It is a simple wooden structure with grass roof, beams and wonderful structure which forms a covered porch.

Bahir Dar, Lake Tana
Monastery at Lake Tana Island

The interior is rich with images. The paintings are mainly from the period before 1900. Very much alive here are the various saints and their legends from the Bible are painted, for example, the escape of the Israelites from Egypt.

Near the monastery district an ancient monk watches the monastery’s treasures. We marvel at the four silver crowns, a coronation robe and an ancient manuscript. We are surprised that these originals are not better protected.

We take some pictures, admiring the Kalashnikov and walk back to the jetty, where we wait for the others. Here we see the everyday life of Ethiopians. Fetching water from the lake despite Bilharzioses, which is carried in jars and cans for miles to their houses.

One monastery is still on our agenda. Dehre Maryam. The building can not assume that it was a famous monastery, in which even two councils were held. Despite its simplicity it pleases us.

We also marvel at one of the oldest manuscripts, the tetra Psalter with valuable illustrations, dated between 1360 and 1380.

Our day trip is over. In brisk ride we go back to Bahir Dar.

At the campsite we make ourselves more comfortable and in the morning we start to Addis Ababa, we must organize the yellow card insurance and want to get Kenya visa.