Saturday, August 22, 2015

Carpe Diem #803 Lake Tana

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a joy to create another episode of CDHK. We are on our way to the source of The Nile and yesterday we sailed on the Blue Nile and now we are arriving on Lake Tana.

Lake Tana (also spelled T'ana, an older variant is Tsana, sometimes called "Dembiya" after the region to the north of the lake) is the source of the Blue Nile and is the largest lake in Ethiopia. Located in Amhara Region in the north-western Ethiopian Highlands, the lake is approximately 84 kilometers long and 66 kilometers wide, with a maximum depth of 15 meters, and an elevation of 1,788 meters. Lake Tana is fed by the Lesser Abay, Reb and Gumara rivers; and its surface area ranges from 3,000 to 3,500 km, depending on season and rainfall. The lake level has been regulated since the construction of the control weir where the lake discharges into the Blue Nile. This controls the flow to the Blue Nile Falls (Tis Abbai) and hydro-power station.
The lake was originally much larger than it is today. Seven large permanent rivers feed the lake as well as 40 small seasonal rivers. The main tributaries to the lake are Gilgel Abbay (Little Nile River), and the Megech, Gumara and Rib rivers.
Lake Tana has a number of islands, whose number varies depending on the level of the lake. It has fallen about 6 feet (1.8 m) in the last 400 years. According to Manoel de Almeida (a Portuguese missionary in the early 17th century), there were 21 islands, seven to eight of which had monasteries on them "formerly large, but now much diminished." When James Bruce visited the area in the later 18th century, he noted that the locals counted 45 inhabited islands, but stated he believed that "the number may be about eleven."  A 20th-century geographer named 37 islands, of which he believed 19 have or had monasteries or churches on them.

The monasteries are believed to have been built over earlier religious sites. They include the fourteenth-century Debre Maryam, and the eighteenth-century Narga Selassie, Tana Qirqos (said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant before it was moved to Axum), and Ura Kidane Mehret, known for its regalia.
Credits: Lake Tana
Well ... it's a beautiful lake I think, must be awesome to visit it once for real.

Lake Tana
religious site of Ethopia
church isles

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until August 25th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, Yellow Nile (Wadi Howar), later on.

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