Ethiopia has a rich religious tradition. While there is a smattering of Muslims throughout the country, many of the country’s inhabitants subscribe to Coptic Christianity. In addition to their belief that they possess the Ark of the Covenant, Ethiopia’s Coptic Christian tradition is one of rich and colorful art and elaborately decorated churches.
Some of the most vibrant examples, as well as some of the world’s oldest churches and monasteries, can be found on Lake Tana, just outside the city of Bahir Dar.
Round structures with massive thatch roofs, the monasteries are impressive even from an outside perspective. However, once you remove your shoes and enter the outer ring of the building, you are greeted by a vast array of artwork.
Depicting various scenes from the Bible, the floor-to-ceiling murals are full of life. Characters with huge almond-shaped eyes, elaborate animals, and intricate interpretations of stories, these paintings speak of a culture with religious passion.