Island monasteries and hidden treasure

Twenty of the islands scattered on Lake Tana shelter small Ethiopian-Orthodox churches and monasteries of immense historical and cultural value. They have a unique architectural style and have provided safe sanctuary for their beautiful mural paintings and a myriad of magnificent treasures including holy manuscript books and the robes and possessions of former kings dating as far back as the 13th century. A special island is Tana Qirqos on the east of the lake, which is inhabited by monks. It is thought to be the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant around 400BC. A short boat trip from Bahar Dar can gives visitors the chance to discover the hidden treasures of these remote and beautiful islands.