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Bahir Dar E-mail
Written by Gezaheng   
Monday, 26 December 2005
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Even great cities resembles a lot, and so do Bahir dar and Awassa, cities founded along lake shores, and very accessible due to their geographical feature, and with climate as pleasant as it can be, major part of the year.

Bahir Dar (literally, the city on the seashore), so called because it is located on the southern shores of Lake Tana (the largest lake in Ethiopia), is some 570 kilometers from Addis Ababa, and it is accessible both by surface and air. Bahir Dar is currently the seat of the Amhara Regional State under the new federal administrative arrangement. The location of the city on the shores of Lake Tana makes of it one of the most convenient centers for boating to the various islands on the lake. Undoubtedly an experience would be using tankwas (papyrus canoes) made by a lakeside people called the Woyto and who ply these seemingly delicate and fragile vessels across the lake, and who still produce the canoes at Bahir Dar and Fogera. Visitors can go on an excursion to T'isissat Falls (so called because of the mist the waterfall produces when it descends strikes the water below), the most breathtaking waterfall with its permanent display of rainbows.

Currently, the town, with its wide, palm-lined avenues and gardens overflowing with tropical vegetation, is a place of considerable economic and commercial importance, with a cotton factory, a polytechnic institute, built by the then USSR, and a pedagogy institute sponsored by UNESCO, now upgraded to the status of a university.

At least two main attractions are a must see: Tis Isat, the misty Blue Nile Falls is a most dramatic spectacle on either the White or the Blue Nile rivers. The waterfall is four hundred meters (1,312 feet) wide when the river is in flood and it descends to the river surface below over a sheer chasm more than forty-five meters (150 feet) deep, in the course of which this misty falls throw up a continuous spray of water, which drenches onlookers up to a kilometer away. The delight to the visitor of this majestic waterfall is the rainbows it produces, which shimmer across the gorge, and the site, a small perennial rainforest of lush green vegetation, which is equally the delight of many monkeys and multicolored birds inhabiting the area.

Rivaling the attraction of the Blue Nile Falls is Lake Tana, with it's for thirty-seven islands scattered about on its 3,000 square kilometer (1,860 square mile) surface, twenty of which shelter churches and monasteries both historically and culturally significant as the repository of innumerable treasures.

A particularly interesting site is Dega Estefanos (which houses a Madonna painted during the reign of Emperor Zera Yaqob (1434-1468) and, more importantly, the glass-sided coffins containing the mummified remains of several of former emperors of Ethiopia, including Yekuno Amlak, restorer of the Solomonic Dynasty to the throne in 1270; Dawit, late fourteenth century, and Zera Yaqob, fifteenth century, to name but a few), Dek, Narga, etc. Most of these churches are off-limits to women, but those of the Zaghe peninsula and the churches of Ura Kidane Mehret and Narga Selassie can be visited by women.

Tags:  Ethiopia cities Bahir Dar Cultural
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