LAKE TANA

With a length of 15.1 kilometers, Sof Omar Caves is the longest cave in Ethiopia. It was Africa's longest cave when it was measured in 1972. Since then, it has been surpassed by explorations in Madagascar (Ambatoharanana - Crocodile Cave 18.1 km) and Algeria (Rhar Bou Ma'za - the Tafna River Cave 18.4 km). The Weyib River (also known as the Gestro River) flows through it, and it is located east of Ginnir in the East Bale Zone of the Oromia Region in southeast Ethiopia.

There are 37 islands that are scattered about the surface of Lake Tana, out of which some 20 shelter churches and monasteries of immense historical and cultural interest. These churches are decorated with beautiful paintings and house innumerable treasures. Because of their isolation they were used to store art treasures and religious relics from all parts of the country.

If Lake Tana is your first time in Ethiopia, prepare yourself to be blown away.

Monasteries in Lake Tana Women cannot enter some of the churches, but they are allowed to land on the island’s banks. They are not, however, allowed to continue inside. However women are able to attend churches on Zeghne Peninsula and neighboring church of Ura Kidane Mehret, as well as Narga Sellassie. Kebran Gabriel: is famed for a superb copy to the Four Gospels which is thought to date back to at least the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century. Ura Kidane Mehret is more ornamental and has a sizable, conical thatched roof that is decorated with biblical images.

Temples of Lake Tana Women aren’t permitted to enter some of the churches, but they are permitted to land on the island’s banks. Women are, however, welcome to attend the churches on the Zeghne Peninsula, the neighboring Ura Kidane Mehret Church, and Narga Sellassie. Kebran Gabriel is well known for a superb Four Gospels manuscript that is thought to have been written at least in the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century. Ura Kidane Mehret: has a large, conical thatched roof that is painted with scenes from biblical legend. It is more ornamental.

 

One of the holiest sites on Lake Tana, Daga Istifanos is said to have been the temporary hiding place for the Ark of the Covenant. The Holly Madonna, a painting from circa 1434, is housed in the church of Saint Stifanos, which is situated on site. The treasury of the building has glass-sided tombs housing the mummified remains of various past Ethiopian monarchs, which is where the actual historical importance resides. On the eastern side of Lake Tana, there is a historic monastery called Tana Cherkos. According to legend, St. Mary spent three months and ten days here under a wall while on her journey to Egypt to rest. The monks assert that she left them with a necklace when she left, which they possess.

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