Ura Kidane Monastery / Mihret

Monday, December 29, 2014
Bahir Dar, Amhara, Ethiopia
A short ride around to a coffee stop and then it was a short 20 minute walk up to Ura Kidane Monastery passing the many small souvenir stands.

The founder was Aba Ze Yohanese. The old colourful frescoes or paintings on the wall around the holy of holies depicting scene from biblical lore as well as the history of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church.

I read that Ura Kidane Monastery, another circular church, ranks not only as the most impressive of the southern monasteries, but also one of the most beautiful churches in Lake Tana. Its architectural style is a typical example of the Ethiopian Orthodox church with mud plastered round wall.

The Zege Peninsula's largest and most famous monastery is hardly the most attractive on the outside, but it’s maqdas (inner sanctuary) is beautifully painted and it holds an important collection of 14th- to 20th-century crosses and crowns which will soon be displayed in a big new museum.

Outside its gate is the private Zeghie Satekela Museum with a collection of household items displayed in a 300-year-old home. 

The souvenir stand had these wonderful reproductions of the paintings that was inside the monasteries but most were painted on goat skin which would have been a "no no" getting it back into New Zealand. A few were painted on cotton.

The white scarves / table runners had caught my eye over the last few days and eventually haggled another one down to 80 birr / NZ$5.30 / US$3.90. I knew that I was the last one to get back to the boat so I didn't have time to get a photo of the male weaver behind his loom. Just managed to snap one with the runner around him. Forgot that we had in a few day’s time a visit to the Ploughshare Women's Craft Training Centre at Gondar where I could have brought one but probably at a much higher price.

Another slow boat trip pushed along by the 9.9 hp outboard back to Bahir Dar and lunch again at Lakeshore Resort. Asked for whole fish and as they had none, it was fish foil. Just as nice as yesterday's lunch.

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