Bahir Dar Things to Do Tips by DAO Top 5 Page for this destination
Bahir Dar Things to Do: 70 reviews and 160 photos
The Museum is in a small run down building behind the monastery. After a tour of the Monastery the Priest will ask if you want to see the Museum. Definitely say YES. There is a small entrance fee, but it is worth every penny. The priest will illuminate the books and bibles with a long burning candle so you can take pictures without a flash. A few times this looked to be a dangerous option, but he’s in charge.
Ethiopia has a good and cheap postal service. Here in Bahir Dar there is a Post Office on the road in front of the lake, near the Summerland Hotel. There are also some post boxes like this across the town. This one is located at the Papyrus Hotel.
Do NOT expect any gift shop to have stamps for postcards.
Of all the Lake Monasteries, this one definitely had a Carpenter (same trade as Jesus). There is an entrance door where a door is carved into a door carved into a door (pictured). The smallest door is rounded and has a cross on the top. It’s very remarkable. They also carved some chairs and baptismal urn (both are pictured).
Debra Meriam is not that impressive. It is just a typical Orthodox Church. In fact a local told me not to wake the Priest as he had been drinking and might charge us more to see it. What is great about this church and worth the visit is that it where the Blue Nile starts and you can see some fantastic views. You will also see the local reed boats up close. I bought my model reed boat here.
Kebran Gabriel is easily the most impressive of the Lake Monasteries. Inside the main church are fantastic frescoes that are easily 1000 years old. The priest will show you these ancient paintings, furniture that is centuries old, and the fantastic museum next door. The Church itself has intricate wooden doors, Holy Water for all visitors and great views of the lake. You can also ring the stone bell if you ask first!
There are only 2 things you should be aware of. 1) It’s forbidden for women, so ladies give the guys your camera. 2) There are some awful new paintings side by side with priceless frescos that are mostly damaged. It’s a real shame.
"NO ENTRANCE FOR LADY"
It’s a shame. This island holds a fantastic museum, but is forbidden for ladies to leave the boat! In all churches in Ethiopia it is supposedly forbidden to women to enter if they are menstruating. Records indicate that at least royal women were once allowed on the island, but somewhere the rules got changed. If you are travelling in a mixed group I would suggest ladies show men how to use their cameras.
This could not be easier. If you are even walking near the lake you will be approached for a tour. This is my guide, Twa. I paid about $12-15 for a tour of 3 islands, a church on the Blue Nile and my guide. All and all a good day out. Prices include up to 5 people and the boat ride. You will usually be asked for $25, just argue the price down. You can pay up to $100 for a fast speed boat and a lengthy 11 tour. Along the way to the Monasteries you will also see reed boats locals use to fish, transport goods and just get around. You can also get your hotel to organise a tour for you if you pay an extra $5.
Please find Twa's details below!
Other Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 09 18 71 3646
The small, cramped Museum holds a priceless collection of processional crosses, gold(?) crowns and a huge treasure of goatskin books and bibles. These are all hundreds of years old and hand painted. They are also written in Geez – the language of the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia. Each book and Bible would have taken a single Monk months, if not years to produce. Sadly some are damaged from the ravages of time, but there is a lot still to see.
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