Bahir Dar (Amharic for “shore side”), is located on the southern shores of the lake and is surrounded by Abay River. Its absolute location is between 11028’94’’ to 11038’29’’ north latitude and 37023’28’’ to 37036’34’’ east longitude.
The city’s history dates back to 16th or 17th C, when Pedro Paez built different buildings, one of which two-story structure is seen today in the compound of St. George church. In the late 18th C, Bahir Dar was used as a camping spot for the army of emperor Tewodros II, where the emperor was forced to shift to Begemdir due to cholera epidemic.
In 1948 the first master plan of the Bahir dar was prepared by Engineer Tadesse W/Gebriel and different public service institutions were established for serving the community. The first school, named as Sertse-Dingil was opened in 1944. The modern master plan which gave current shape of the city was prepared in 1962 by team led by a German known as Mucks Gutter to accommodate 300, 000 population.
In the 1956, the total population was 2,500 and with growth rate of 10.5% the population has risen to 24, 490 in 1974. The current population of the city is estimated to be around 300,000.
The city has tremendous tourist attractions. It is a place where wide palm-lined boulevards, and located on the stunning shore of Lake Tana, and doorstep of Lake Tana’s mystical monasteries and the Blue Nile Falls (Tis Abay in Amharic) where waters of the Blue Nile plunge over a cliff that is 50 meters long and 400 meters wide.