Bahar Dar, Ethiopia

Located on Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, Bahar Dar is an Ethiopian town with wide avenues of palms and flowers.

Bahar Dar's main attraction is the selection of Ethiopian Christian monasteries which are found on some 20 of Lake Tana's 37 islands. They can be reached by a convenient and fairly comfortable boat ride, which leaves regularly.

Most of the Bahar Dar monasteries date from the 16th and 17th centuries and have changed little since their founding. They are simple huts decorated with colorful scenes from the Bible and lives of the saints.

The Zege Peninsula is home to the Ura Kidane Mihret and Bet Maryam monasteries. The former is one of the most-visited of the monasteries. The round building consists of three concentric circles, the innermost of which is the Holy of Holies containing the monastery's replica of the Ark. The walls are covered in bright paintings, many of which depict violent martyrdoms. Bet Maryam has an interesting museum/treasury.

Another island is home to Kibran Gebriel, which can only be visited by men (female visitors will be taken to a different island monastery nearby). It also has an interesting museum, filled with old manuscripts, crowns and crosses.

Bahar Dar's other star attraction, the Blue Nile Falls, is about an hour's ride out of town.

See the Bahar Dar photo gallery for a look around a few of the Bahar Dar monasteries and nearby sights.


Quick Facts on Bahar Dar

Site Information
Names:Bahar Dar
Categories:churches; monasteries
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:11.698803° N, 37.336349° E
Lodging:View hotels near Bahar Dar
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. Ethiopia's Holy Route: Bahir Dar, Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls - ATA
  2. Lake Tana Monasteries - Real Travel journal entry
  3. Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

More Information

© mdziedzic
© mdziedzic
© mdziedzic
© Charles Roffey
© mdziedzic
© mdziedzic
© Charles Roffey
© Charles Roffey

Map of Bahar Dar, Ethiopia

Below is a location map and aerial view of Bahar Dar. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.