A woman poses next to Birgida Maryam Monastery in one of the islands of Lake Tana. Located in the west of the country and more than two thousand square kilometers, Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and a sacred place since time immemorial. Bushy islands stand in the distance, green upholstered to the peaks, forests conceal some of the most important monasteries and churches of the Ethiopian rite, many with more than seven hundred years old. In this lake, says one of many legends, first came the Ark of the Covenant, when a small Jewish community fleeing persecution in Egypt transported from Aswan, upriver through the Blue Nile, until the great lake. On the island of Tana Kirkos, continues the legend, the ark remained hidden for eight years until he was transferred to the city of Axum, where it is believed that still rests in the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, guarded by an old priest and blind.