Long acknowledged as the source of the Blue Nile River, Lake Tana is Ethiopia’s largest body of water, with a surface area of 3,673km², a surrounding drainage of 11,650km² and a maximum depth of 14m. It is located in the Amhara Region, in a depression of the northwest plateau 1,800m above sea level.
Volcanic activity which blocked the course of inflowing rivers in the early Pleistocene times about five million years ago was responsible for the formation of Lake Tana which is fed by seven permanent rivers and about forty seasonal brooks.
From the 14th to the 16th century, the Lake Tana area played an important role in maintaining the Christian faith against contemporary pressure. There are thirty-seven islands on Lake Tana with about thirty of them having churches and monasteries dating back to the 14th Century.