Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and it is also the source of the Blue Nile, a fact that may explain many of Ethiopia’s links with the ancient world. Even today the papyrus tankwa that sail the lake bare a striking resemblance to the boats of Ancient Egypt. The main tourist centre for the Tana area is Bahar Dar, which lies on the southern shore. The only other significant settlement is Gorgora, on the northern shore.
The Tana area is the traditional home of the Amhara, a Christian people. However Tana was also the homeland of the falashas who practised a form of Judaism that appears to have severed from the Jewish mainstream before 650BC. There are now few, if any, falasha people left in the Tana region: after centuries of persecution most of them were airlifted to Israel in 1991.