Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Region: Amhara

Geographic Coordinates: 11.600000, 37.383300
Temperature Range: 10.0°C to 25.0°C (50°F to 77°F)
Climate: Seasonal climate and weather patterns in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia are influenced by the tropical monsoon climate, resulting in a rainy season from June to September and a dry season from October to May.
Population: 243300
Language: Amharic

Bahir Dar is a beautiful city situated in the northwestern part of Ethiopia, On the southern shore of Lake Tana – the largest lake in Ethiopia and also the source of the Blue Nile River. The city has a population of approximately 350, 000 inhabitants and is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, Rich history, And cultural attractions. One of Bahir Dar’s main highlights is Lake Tana. Tourists can take boat tours around the lake to explore its many islands and monasteries. These monasteries house ancient religious artifacts and manuscripts dating back several centuries.

Some are only accessible by boat, Making it an exciting adventure for visitors. Another popular attraction in Bahir Dar is the Blue Nile Falls – located about 30 kilometers from Bahir Dar. It offers stunning views as water cascades down from over 40 meters into a gorge below. Visitors can hike to get closer or take a boat ride along the river to enjoy different perspectives. Besides natural attractions, Bahir Dar also has several museums showcasing Ethiopian history and culture.

One such museum is located inside Emperor Haile Selassie’s former palace compound where visitors can learn about Ethiopia’s monarchy era through exhibits displaying royal clothing, Jewelry, Art pieces among others. Bahir Dar boasts vibrant markets where visitors can shop for local crafts like woven baskets made by local artisans using traditional techniques passed down through generations. The city has an excellent nightlife scene with various restaurants offering traditional Ethiopian cuisine alongside international dishes like pizza or pasta dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients like Teff flour – used to make injera (a sourdough flatbread).

Bahir Dar offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as trekking or hiking along scenic trails surrounded by lush greenery while enjoying stunning views across Lake Tana or cycling around town exploring its hidden gems. Bahir Dar is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience Ethiopia’s rich history and culture while enjoying its natural beauty. With its stunning landscapes, Ancient monasteries, Museums, Vibrant markets, And excellent nightlife scene – there is something for everyone in this charming city.

Important Landmarks

  1. Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and serves as the source of the Blue Nile River.
  2. The Blue Nile Falls, located about 30 km from Bahir Dar, is a breathtaking waterfall on the Blue Nile River.
  3. Lake Tana’s islands are home to numerous ancient monasteries dating back to the 14th century.
  4. Bahir Dar Market is a busy marketplace where locals sell traditional crafts, textiles, and food items.
  5. Fasil Ghebbi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes castles and palaces built by Emperor Fasilides during the 17th century.
  6. Bezawit Palace Museum showcases Ethiopian art and culture within its former palace walls.
  7. Abay Minch Lodge & Spa offers tourists stunning views of Lake Tana and relaxation opportunities in a luxurious spa resort setting.
  8. Debre Birhan Selassie Church features beautiful frescoes depicting biblical scenes and saints that have made it an iconic Ethiopian Orthodox church.
  9. The Ethnological Museum showcases traditional Ethiopian culture through exhibits featuring clothing, tools, musical instruments, and more.
  10. Awra Amba Village was founded by Zumra Nuru as an innovative community promoting gender equality, education for all children regardless of gender or social status as well as self-sufficiency through agriculture among other things.

Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture
  2. Tourism
  3. Education
  4. Manufacturing
  5. Transportation
  6. Construction
  7. Healthcare

Bahir Dar is renowned for its fertile land and favorable climate that supports the growth of crops such as coffee, maize, wheat and teff. The city’s location on the shores of Lake Tana makes it a popular tourist destination due to several monasteries and churches.

Bahir Dar University is one of Ethiopia’s largest universities with over 50,000 students enrolled. Additionally there are small-scale manufacturing industries in the city that produce textiles, leather goods and food products.

As a major transportation hub in northern Ethiopia there are numerous bus companies operating within the city and surrounding areas. With rapid urbanization taking place in recent years there has been an increase in construction activities including building new houses as well as infrastructure projects like roads and bridges.

Healthcare facilities are also available within Bahir Dar with Felege Hiwot Referral Hospital serving as a major medical center for the region.

Noteable History

  1. The city of Bahir Dar was founded by Emperor Susenyos in the early 17th century.
  2. In 1875, Ethiopian forces defeated an invading Egyptian army in the Battle of Gundet near Bahir Dar, marking a significant moment in Ethiopia’s history of resistance against European imperialism.
  3. Emperor Haile Selassie visited Bahir Dar several times during his reign from 1930 to 1974, making it a favored destination for him.
  4. Lake Tana, located near Bahir Dar, is home to several historic monasteries dating back as far as the 14th century.
  5. Dr. Catherine Hamlin established a hospital in Bahir Dar that has helped thousands of women with obstetric fistula over the years.
  6. The Blue Nile Falls are located just outside of Bahir Dar and are one of Ethiopia’s most famous natural wonders and an important source of hydroelectric power for the country.
  7. In March 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi, killing all onboard including several passengers from Bahir Dar and nearby areas.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Lake Tana: The largest lake in Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile River.
  2. Blue Nile Falls: A scenic waterfall on the Blue Nile River, located about 30 km from Bahir Dar.
  3. Bahir Dar Market: A vibrant market where you can find local handicrafts, textiles, and food.
  4. Bahir Dar Museum: A museum showcasing the history and culture of the region.
  5. Bezawit Palace: The former residence of Emperor Haile Selassie, now a museum with exhibits on Ethiopian history and culture.
  6. Church of St. George: An ancient church built in the 14th century known for its unique circular design and intricate artwork.
  7. Tis Isat University Art Center: An art center featuring works by local artists as well as international exhibits.
  8. Fasil Ghebbi (Royal Enclosure): A UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of palaces, castles, and other buildings that were once part of a royal compound dating back to the 17th century.
  9. Debre Birhan Selassie Church: A beautiful church known for its colorful frescoes depicting scenes from Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity.
  10. Bete Maryam Monastery: An ancient monastery located on an island in Lake Tana that can be reached by boat or hike through forested hillsides offering stunning views over the lake itself.

Sports Teams

  1. Bahir Dar City FC: This football club was established in 2017 and currently plays in the Ethiopian Premier League. The team’s success has been mixed, but it has been improving over time.
  2. Bahir Dar University SC: This football club represents Bahir Dar University and competes in local leagues and tournaments. The team has had several notable victories.
  3. Tana Beles FC: This football club is based in Debre Tabor but has strong ties to Bahir Dar due to its proximity. The team has competed at various levels of Ethiopian football over the years and achieved some success.
  4. Lake Tana Fishing Club: Although not a sports team, this fishing club is one of the most well-known organizations associated with outdoor activities around Bahir Dar. It hosts regular fishing competitions on Lake Tana, attracting participants from all over Ethiopia.

Overall, while sports may not be as prevalent in Bahir Dar as they are elsewhere, there are still numerous opportunities for athletes to compete at different levels across various disciplines.

Cultural Events

  1. Timket (Ethiopian Epiphany) is a religious festival celebrated in Bahir Dar and throughout Ethiopia, which commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ. It involves colorful processions, music, dancing, and water splashing and takes place on January 19th or 20th.
  2. Meskel (Finding of the True Cross) is another important religious festival celebrated in Bahir Dar and across Ethiopia that marks the discovery of the True Cross by Queen Helena. The festival takes place on September 27th or 28th and involves lighting a large bonfire called Demera.
  3. Fasika (Ethiopian Easter) is a significant religious festival celebrated in Bahir Dar and across Ethiopia that marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Its date varies depending on the Ethiopian Orthodox calendar but usually falls between April 4th – May 8th.
  4. Gish Abay is a cultural festival that celebrates Lake Tana’s founding legend at Gish Abay waterfall near Bahir Dar town every year around October/November.
  5. Felege New Year is an annual celebration marking the new year according to traditional calendars for people living around Lake Tana each August-September.
  6. Tigray People’s Liberation Front Victory Day commemorates their victory over Derg regime forces leading to their overthrow from power after years-long armed struggle ending with Derg regime collapse in May 1991 annually celebrated by members of TPLF who live in Bahir Dar City.
  7. Bahir Dar International Film Festival showcases films from all over Africa as well as international movies attracting filmmakers and movie lovers from all over Africa including local communities within Amhara region where it has been hosted annually since December 2016.


  • Fasika Traditional Restaurant serves authentic Ethiopian cuisine, including injera, kitfo, and tibs.
  • Abay Minch Lodge Restaurant offers a variety of local dishes such as doro wat, shiro, and tibs.
  • Lakeshore Ethiopian Restaurant serves traditional Ethiopian dishes with a lakeside view.
  • Ben Abeba Restaurant features modern Ethiopian cuisine with a fusion twist.
  • Gondar Traditional Restaurant specializes in traditional Amharic dishes like firfir and kitfo.
  • Blue Nile Cafe & Bar offers a range of local dishes along with international cuisine options.
  • Habesha Kitfo Bet is known for its delicious kitfo (raw minced beef) which is served with injera and other sides.
  • Tana Hotel’s restaurant features a mix of international and local cuisine options including popular Ethiopian dishes like doro wat and tibs.
  • Kibranet Cultural House & Restaurant provides an authentic cultural experience through its food offerings such as tej (Ethiopian honey wine) tasting accompanied by traditional music performances.
  • Bahir Dar Fish Market is located near Lake Tana where one can enjoy fresh fish prepared in various ways like grilled or fried along with other side dishes to choose from the menu.

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and a popular destination for boating and fishing enthusiasts.
    2. The Blue Nile Falls are located outside of Bahir Dar and are a must-see attraction for visitors to the area.
    3. Bahir Dar Zoo is home to an array of animals, including lions, hyenas, baboons, and more.
    4. The Abay River provides opportunities for fishing and boating activities.
    5. Bezawit Hill Park is a beautiful park situated atop Bezawit Hill that offers breathtaking views of Bahir Dar and Lake Tana.
    6. Kidane Mihret Monastery is a historic monastery dating back to the 14th century located on an island in Lake Tana.
    7. Bahir Dar Stadium is a modern stadium that hosts local soccer matches as well as other sporting events.
    8. Bete Maryam Church is one of the oldest churches in Ethiopia with impressive architectural details worth seeing.
    9. Entoto Natural Park offers hiking trails through forests with stunning views over the surrounding countryside just outside of Bahir Dar.
    10. Yegazetegnaw Mastawesha Memorial Park & Museum serves as both a museum dedicated to Ethiopian history as well as offering recreational activities like sports fields within its park grounds.


    Let The Journey Begin.

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