HIGHLIGHTS Mon 29 Dec: Lake Tana ~ 2 Monasteries

Monday, December 29, 2014
Gonder, Amhara, Ethiopia
Blue Nile

First stop was where the Blue Nile emptied from Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s largest lake 3,673 km2.

6,650 km (4,130 miles) long, the Nile runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.

Hippos, African eagle and other bird life were seen. Papyrus reed boats having been sailing since the Egyptian pyramid age are still on the lake.



Debre Maryam / Betre Mariam Monastery

We only had time to see two of the more than 20 monastic churches on the islands and peninsulas of Lake Tana. Many of which were founded during the 14th-century rule of Amda Tsion (1315-1345). They were established in the medieval period by the monks locally referred as "The Seven Stars".

It was an hour on the "slow" boat across to the forested Zege Peninsula which is studded with medieval churches.

First up was the circular Debre Maryam Monastery founded in the 14th century. Inside the conical thatched roof monastery were richly illuminated manuscripts of the four gospels.





Ura Kidane Monastery / Mihret

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.






Finger of God

Off to Gondar, just 185 km away with a stop at the Finger of God, a solid bit of rock poking straight upwards .... Or was Devil's Nose Rock, is a basaltic monolith or hoodo.

Just before Gondar, it was a short stop below Guzara Castle built for Emperor Sarsa Dengal in 1571-72.

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