Bahir Dar is situated on the southern shore of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile (or Abay), in what was previously the Gojjam province. The city is located approximately 578 km north-northwest of Addis Ababa. The city endowed with wide, palm lined avenues and gardens overflowing with tropical vegetation. It is the source of the famous Blue Nile, the longest river in the world.
Lake Tana, the largest lake, in Ethiopia is the source and from where the famed Blue Nile starts its long journey to Khartoum, and on to the Mediterranean. The 37 islands that are scattered about the surface of the Lake shelter fascinating churches and monasteries, some of which have histories dating back to the 13th Century. However, it should be noted that most of the religious houses are not open to women. The most interesting islands are: Birgida Mariam, Dega Estefanous, Dek, Narga, TanaCherkos, MitseleFasiledes, Kebran and Debre Mariam.
The Blue Nile Falls is one notable attraction on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia. It is known as Tis Abay in Amharic, meaning "great smoke". It is situated on the upper course of the river, about 30 km downstream from the town of Bahir Dar and Lake Tana.