Dega Estefanos

Top choice christian monastery in Lake Tana & its Monasteries

One of the lake’s most sacred monasteries, Dega Estefanos (men only) was rebuilt in the mid-19th century and though the church isn’t too interesting, it holds a good selection of treasures (including a 16th-century painting of the Madonna) and the mummified remains in glass coffins of five former Ethiopian emperors (13th to 17th centuries). One of the bodies is Zara Yaqob, one of the most important Ethiopian emperors.

The founder of this monastery, locals believe, was a saint who sailed to the island in 1268 on a stone boat. The ‘boat’ is still visible halfway along the trail to the monastery.

The monastery is about 2½ hours from Bahir Dar and 45 minutes from Narga Selassie, 30-minutes' walk up a steep trail.

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