City Guide, Addis Ababa
Near the center of the country at an elevation of 7,600 ft/2,500 m the capital
city Addis Ababa sits in a narrow valley in the shadow of the impressive Mt. Entoto.
Founded in 1880 Addis Ababa, which means "New Flower" in the Amharic language,
is a fairly new city whose impressive monuments of colonial architecture are dispersed
amid stretches of sun-bleached shacks and empty lots. Now in the early 21st century
new, modern buildings are created at an impressive speed. The smoky pine-covered
hills surrounding Addis add to the enjoyment of walking the city streets especially
in the evening or early morning.
Addis Ababa is some 125 years old city – found during the reign of the infamous
Ethiopian ruler Emperor Menelik II. Addis Ababa, meaning “New Flower”
is the seat of the continental organization, formerly known as organization for
African Unity (OAU) and now as African Union (AU), UN Economic Commission for Africa
(UN ECA) and other regional and international organization. Addis Abeba is one of
the high altitude cities of Africa.
The largest city and the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa is a fascinating, ethnically
diverse city nestled prettily in the foothills of the Entoto Mountains. It enjoys
lovely temperate climate and is home to one of the largest open-air markets in Africa
– the Mercato.
While there, see the Emperor’s Palace and the Imperial Zoo. Other sights
include the Menelik II Mausoleum located in a cellar under a small church on a hill
overlooking the city—a priest will open the church for you, Africa Hall (a convention
hall with beautiful stained glass made by the famous Ethiopian artist Afework Tekle),
the Lion Park, the Ethiopian Museum (archaeological displays), the Great Mosque,
the Lion of Judah statue and Notable buildings include St George's Cathedral (founded
in 1896 and also home to a museum), Holy Trinity Cathedral (once the largest Ethiopian
Orthodox Cathedral and the location of Sylvia Pankhurst's tomb) as well as the burial
place of Emperor Haile Selassie and the Imperial family, and those who fought the
Italians during the war. The Mercato, a colorful 10-sq-mi/26-sq-km open market offers
everything from food to paintings of biblical scenes.
The fossilized skeleton, and a plaster replica, of the early hominid Lucy (known
in Ethiopia as Dinkinesh) is preserved at the Ethiopian National Museum
in Addis Ababa. The city is home to the Ethiopian National Library, the Ethiopian
Ethnological Museum (and former palace), the Addis Ababa Museum, the Ethiopian Natural
History Museum, the Ethiopian Railway Museum and the National Postal Museum.
Culture and entertainment
Ethiopia is truly a Land of discovery - brilliant and beautiful, secretive,
mysterious and extraordinary. Above all things, it is a country of great antiquity,
with a culture and traditions dating back more than 3,000 years. The traveler in
Ethiopia makes a journey through time, transported by beautiful monuments and the
ruins of edifices built long centuries ago.
Ethiopia, like many other African countries, is a multi-ethnic state. Many
distinctions have been blurred by intermarriage over the years but many also
remain. The differences may be observed in the number of languages spoken - an astonishing
83, falling into four main language groups.
Ethiopians are justifiably proud of the range of their traditional costumes.
The most obvious identification of the different groups is in the jewellery, the
hair styles and the embroidery of the dresses.
Ethiopia also has a rich tradition of both secular and religious music, singing
and dancing, and these together constitute an important part of Ethiopian cultural
Food and drink
Like its hotels, Addis has several restaurants that serve mouth-watering meals
and bars where you can relax comfortably after the hearty meals. Most patisseries
have a wide selection of excellent cakes, fresh cookies and oven fresh breads. A
variety of fresh fruit juices and hot drinks ranging from the famous macchiato to
the refreshing tea is served with a wedge of lemon
When you travel to Addis for the first time there is nothing dubious about restaurants
in Addis Ababa. The city has a fine selection of food establishments worthy of one’s
custom. The city has wide Varity of Ethiopian traditional cuisine including the
famous ‘Enjera’ a large sourdough flat bread made of teff flour
and international also international food and drinks are available in the city.
Addis Ababa offers a great shopping experience with its shopping districts and
streets. Tourists will find Ethiopian crafts, jewelery, clothes, fresh exotic fruits
and vegetables. The main shopping districts in Addis Ababa are Piazza and the area
around Cherchil Avenue.
The Addis Ababa merkato is the largest outdoor market in the Africa, and you
can get anything from tourist goods (t-shirts, wood crafts, etc.) to fabric to metal
goods there. shiromeda is a pleasant alternative. Interested in blankets or traditional
Ethiopian clothing like a shemma (toga)? The Entoto Market in Shiromeda is the place
to be. Unlike Churchill Ave or the Piazza area, this is where locals go to buy Ethiopian
Piazza is one of the main shopping districts in Addis Ababa. There are many small
shops and street stalls in the area. Piazza is believed to be one of the favorite
shopping place among women as there are many jewelery shops, boutiques, shoes stores
and shops where you can buy all types of African goods.
Addis Ababa Map