Monastery of Debre Mariam, Bahir Dar

#5 of 13 in Things to do in Bahir Dar
Landmark · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Admire the colorful murals and icons of Monastery of Debre Mariam, a thatched Ethiopian Orthodox complex built on a Lake Tana island. Founded in the mid-14th century, the monastery boasts an extravagant manuscript library with Ge'ez inscriptions on goatskin. In the 19th century, Emperor Tewodros II commissioned the present-day traditional-style structure, whose simple design houses some exquisite icon images. Friendly church deacons will explain the significance of the imagery and colors. You can access the site by either papyrus tankwa or motorboat, though the monastery's founder Abuna Tadewos Tsalalesh was reportedly able to part water in order to walk to the mainland. Look for people constructing tankwa on site. With our international travel planner, Bahir Dar attractions like Monastery of Debre Mariam can be center stage of your vacation plans, and you can find out about other attractions like it, unlike it, near it, and miles away.
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  • This out of the way monastery was interesting and worth the trip on the lake. It is fairly stark but had an unusual wooden "bell" for calling people in.  more »
  • Visiting these monsteries, you get a sense of the great tradition that has been in these parts for many hundreds of years. The use of murals to tell the gospel to a largely illiterate people is known....  more »
  • If you are a religious person, you should visit this church. If you are lucky you can even talk to the priests. This is one of the oldest monasteries in the region.
  • The lake is full of monasteries like this one. Each has unique artifacts and worth a visit. Many do not allow women to visit so ask before you go.

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