Blue Nile, one of the two main tributaries of the Nile River, which originates in Ethiopia, is known as ‘Abay in Amharic’. The Blue Nile purported to originate from a spring in the Ethiopian Highland. From this spring the little Abay descends into Lake Tana. Abay, or Blue Nile, plunges down the “Tis Isat” waterfall a short distance below Lake Tana. Just over 350 km (220 mile) farther south, it bends west into the Blue Nile Gorge, which reaches a depth of more than 1000 m (about 3,300 ft). There are 37 islands on the lake with 14th -16th century monasteries.
Bahir Dar is a settlement on southern shore of Lake Tana (Ethiopia’s largest lake), where local fishermen still use locally made papyrus reeds canoes, and just 32 Km from the spectacular Tis Isat (Blue Nile Falls). Here the Blue Nile Creates “Smoking Water”, an awe-inspiring sight as it dives into the gorge below. For centuries Lake Tana has attracted mystics and religious individuals. Most of the islands possess invaluable historical documents, relics, and the remains of Ethiopian Kings in the medieval period, and have churches with beautiful painted walls. These include Dek Estefan’s, Kibran Gabriel, (closed to Women), Ura Kidane Miheret with its famous frescoes. The colorful local market at Bahir Dar is renowned for its weavers and wood workers.