The original 14th-century (some say 12th-century) church at Debre Maryam was rebuilt by Tewodros in the 19th century. It’s unattractive both outside and in and the treasury is meagre. The main reason to visit is that sometimes men make tankwas here. Also, it’s across from the outlet of the Blue Nile. It’s 15 minutes by boat and a short walk through coffee, mango and fig trees.
In the dry season you can visit Debre Maryam by tankwa. Head north of Bahir Dar to just before the Nile bridge and then walk west about 1km to the lake on the road with the family-planning sign. Locals pay Birr2 return, but you’re unlikely to get it for less than Birr20.