According to materials published by the Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency, the Blue Nile has a total length of 1,450 kilometres, of which 800 are inside Ethiopia. The Blue Nile flows generally south from Lake Tana and then west across Ethiopia and northwest into Sudan. Within 30 km (18.6 mi) of its source at Lake Tana, the river enters a canyon about 400 km long. This gorge is a tremendous obstacle for travel and communication from the north half of Ethiopia to the southern half. The power of the Blue Nile may best be appreciated at Tis Issat Falls, which are 45 m (148 ft) high, located about 40 km (25 mi) downstream of Lake Tana.

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