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Islands of Lake Tana

Listed under Islands in Ethiopia.

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Some of the small, flat islands of Lake Tana are home to ancient, isolated churches and monasteries, where the remains of Ethiopian emperors and religious leaders and other ecclesiastical treasures and classical and medieval murals are housed.

The first monasteries are thought to have been built here during the 14th Century, in which to keep precious early Christian manuscripts, and were constructed on top of earlier religious sites, including Narga Selassie on the island of Tana Quiqos, said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant. Among the other objects of religious importance on Tana Quiqos is a rock on which the Virgin Mary is supposed to have rested on her journey back from Egypt.

The number of islands on Lake Tana change depending on the depth of the lake, but there are now usually 37, 20 of which have religious buildings on them.

As well as the historical and religious significance of the area, it is also one of the best places in Africa to go bird watching.

Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and feeds the Blue Nile via the thunderous and powerful Tissisat or Blue Nile Falls.

More about Lake Tana.

Written by  Lindsay Drury.

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