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Islands of Lake Tana

Lake Tana Island

Lake Tana Island

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There are 37 islands on Lake Tana. Some of these islands are home to churches and monasteries. Some of which have histories dating back to the 13th century.


It is possible to cruise to the islands from Bahir Dar. Boat transport can be arranged with private operators based on the duration of visit to the island and which islands to visit. There are also hotels which provide boat service.


Kibrane Gabriel Island Monastery is on an island covered with forest. Monks on this island live completely self-contained lives. Only male being can access this island. Females are forbidden even to land on the island.


Another monastery, Ura-Kidane-Mehireth is located at Zegie, a mainland peninsula. It is built with a conical thatched roof and stores an impressive treasury of ancient illuminated Bibles in the Ge'ez script. This building is decorated with a number of external and internal frescoes of religious significance.

Kibran Gebriel island

Kibran Gebriel island

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The following two paragraphs are an excerpt from a Wikipedia article.


The lake has a number of islands, whose numbers vary depending on the level of the lake; it has fallen about 6 feet (1.8 m) in the last 400 years. According to Manoel de Almeida (who was a Portuguese missionary in the early 17th century), there were 21 islands, seven to eight of which had monasteries on them "formerly large, but now much diminished." When James Bruce visited the area in the later 18th century, he noted that the locals counted 45 inhabited islands, but stated he believed that "the number may be about eleven." A more modern geographer named 37 islands, of which he believed 19 have or had monasteries or churches on them.


Remains of ancient Ethiopian emperors and treasures of the Ethiopian Church are kept in the isolated island monasteries (including Kebran Gabriel, Ura Kidane Mehret, Narga Selassie, Daga Estifanos, Medhane Alem of Rema, Kota Maryam and Mertola Maryam). On the island of Tana Qirqos is a rock shown to Paul B. Henze, on which he was told the Virgin Mary had rested on her journey back from Egypt; he was also told that Frumentius, who introduced Christianity to Ethiopia, is "allegedly buried on Tana Cherqos."[2] The body of Yekuno Amlak is interred in the monastery of St. Stephen on Daga Island; other Emperors whose tombs are on Daga include Dawit I, Zara Yaqob, Za Dengel and Fasilides. Other important islands in Lake Tana include Dek, Mitraha, Gelila Zakarias, Halimun, and Briguida.




Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Tana

 
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