Travel to Addis Ababa – Ethiopia’s Highland Capital
Addis Ababa (Addis Abeba), is the capital city of Ethiopia and the African Union, and the world’s largest city that is in a landlocked country. Situated in the foothills of the Entoto Mountains and standing 2,400 metres above sea level, the city is the third highest capital in the world.
As a chartered city, Addis Ababa has the status of both a city and a state. Due to its historical, diplomatic, and political significance for the continent, the city is considered as the capital of Africa.
Like any other capital in the world, there is more than enough for anybody to do in Addis Ababa. The city has numerous restaurants offering various exotic dishes, and a wide range of historical sites.
Addis Ababa was founded by Emperor Menelik II in 1887. Menelik, as initially a King of the Shewa province, had found Mount Entoto a useful base for military operations in the south of his realm, and in 1879, visited the reputed ruins of a medieval town, and an unfinished rock church that showed proof of an Ethiopian presence in the area prior to the campaigns of Ahmad Gragn. His interest in the area grew when his wife Taytu began work on a church on Entoto, and Menelik endowed a second church in the area. However, the immediate area did not encourage the founding of a town due to the lack of firewood and water, so settlement actually began in the valley south of the mountain in 1886.
On 5 May 1936, Italian troops occupied Addis Ababa during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, making it the capital of Italian East Africa from 1936 to 1941. After the Italian army in Ethiopia was defeated by the British army and the Ethiopian patriots during the East African Campaign, Emperor Haile Selassie returned to Addis Ababa on 5 May 1941and immediately began the work of re-establishing his capital.
Addis Ababa has numerous sites to visit. Among them there is the National Museum which has an extensive collection of artifacts and fossils and the Mercato, one of the largest markets in Africa, offers an array of colours, aromas, costumes, produce and jewellery.
Other attractions include the Lion of Judah Monument, the Meyazia 27 Square (Arat Kilo); Menelik II Square where stands the imposing equestrian statue of Emperor Menelik II; the Menelik Mausoleum, built in 1941 to serve as the tombs of emperors and princes, and the Trinity.
St George’s Cathedral was built in 1896 in the traditional octagonal shape to commemorate Ethiopia’s victory over the Italians at the Battle of Adwa and Africa Hall is an imposing symbol of African independence and optimism. The National Theatre is also worth a look.
Shop at the famous Mercato or spend time at the city restaurants and bars.
One of the best ways to explore Addis Ababa is by foot with a local guide. Buses and taxis are available all over the city.
- Discover Lucy, our famous ancestor, at the Addis National Museum.
- Explore a city that still retains a bit of an Italian flavour.
- Enjoy shopping at the famous Mercato, the biggest open air market in east Africa.