Tana Cherkos

Lake Tana & its Monasteries

It’s said the Ark of the Covenant was hidden at Tana Cherkos for 800 years, which would seem to indicate it’s an interesting destination, but the present 19th-century church and its modern paintings are rather modest. Its unique feature is its ancient Judaic sacrificial stones. Tana Cherkos is 2½ hours from Bahir Dar by boat. From the landing it’s a 30-minute walk uphill.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lake Tana & its Monasteries attractions

1. Mitsele Fasiladas

1.97 MILES

Because most of the treasures of Mitsele Fasiladas (on an island just south of Tana Cherkos and a short walk from the landing) were stolen in the 1990s,…

2. Dega Estefanos

12.05 MILES

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…

3. Narga Selassie

15.77 MILES

Set in the middle of the lake on Dek Island, Narga Selassie is peaceful, atmospheric and little visited. Built in the mid-18th century, it has a Gonderian…

4. Bete Maryam

16.02 MILES

Founded in the 13th century, Bete Maryam, near the tip of the peninsula, is the oldest monastery on Zege and its attractive church has some excellent…

5. Zeghie Satekela Museum

16.19 MILES

Outside the gate to Ura Kidane Meret is the private Zeghie Satekela Museum, with a collection of household items displayed in a 300-year-old home.

6. Azuwa Maryam

16.27 MILES

The thatch roof atop the church at Azuwa Maryam helps make it the best-looking church on Zege (currently Bete Maryam is the only other church with thatch)…

7. Ura Kidane Meret

16.28 MILES

The Zege Peninsula’s largest and most famous monastery is hardly the most attractive on the outside, but its maqdas (inner sanctuary) is beautifully…

8. Bete Giorgis

16.49 MILES

Just uphill from Bete Maryam, Bete Giorgis is being rebuilt from scratch following a fire. Its small museum, with an important collection of crowns, is…