Welcome to Bichena, a historic town located in the Misraq Gojjam Zone of the Amhara Region in west-central Ethiopia. Situated on a hillside overlooking the Abay River, Bichena is known for its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage.
Bichena was once the capital of the province of Gojjam in the 18th century. The town was surrounded by strong stone walls and most of the houses were made of stone, but now it has fallen into great decay. However, the town still has some important landmarks from its time of greatness such as the nearby church of Weyname Kidane Mihret which has extraordinary eighteenth-century paintings, including classic themes such as the Flight into Egypt, Adam and Eve, Abraham sacrificing Isaac, and vivid depictions of the traditional Ethiopian country life as it is still being lived in the surrounding area. There is an outstanding St George and dragon, and the details were from traditional Ethiopian country life.
Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Bichena has an estimated total population of 21,824, of whom 10,824 are men and 10,833 are women. The 1994 census reported this town had a total population of 12,484 of whom 5,695 were men and 6,789 were women.
Adamu Tesfaw, a painter, is among the notable residents of Bichena.
Bichena has a tragic history as well. In August 1975, the town witnessed a massacre by the Derg when soldiers opened fire into the crowd during a delegation visit that was explaining land reform. Reports of the death toll vary from one hundred to one thousand. Additionally, on 12 October 2003, government militia beat and confined party leaders Kassa Zewdu and Sinishaw Tegegn in Bichena jail.
Bichena is an ideal destination for those interested in exploring Ethiopian history and culture. With its stunning landscapes, cultural landmarks and rich history, Bichena should definitely be on every traveler’s bucket list.