Posted by: RasmaSandra | August 4, 2017

Interesting Addis Ababa


Located in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is a landlocked country that is divided by the Great Rift Valley. It is a place of ancient culture. In our armchair travels we’ve arrived in Ethiopia. We’ll be taking a look at the amazing capital Addis Ababa. Next time we will look at what else this country has to offer so sit back and enjoy.

eth addisAddis Ababa is Ethiopia’s sprawling capital and its commercial and cultural hub.

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Addis Ababa University is the country’s largest and most prestigious. The academic year runs from October to May.

eth ethiopian studies

Institute of Ethiopian Studies inside the grounds of the university, this institute is home to the world’s best collection of books in English on Ethiopia. Visitors can make use of the institute for half-a-day for free.

Take a look at the impressive Ethnological Museum of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies.

aau campus

It is surrounded by the lovely gardens and fountains of the university’s main campus. This is one of the finest museums in Africa and offers a look into Ethiopia’s cultural and social history.

eth Italian steps

When you face the entrance of the museum you’ll see the intriguing set of 13 stairs which spiral skyward. Each step was placed by the Italians as a symbol of Fascist domination, one for every year Mussolini was in power. A small Lion of Judah (the symbol of Ethiopian monarchy) sits atop of the final step.

In the entrance hall is a small exhibition dedicated to the history of the palace and the doorway to the Institute of Language Studies Library.

On the first floor you’ll find displays of artifacts and handicrafts from the Ethiopian people. These displays are based on the life cycle – childhood, adulthood and death and beyond. Other rooms on this floor show the preserved bedroom, bathroom and exorbitant changing room of Emperor Haile Selassie.

On the second floor displays focus on religious art with an impressive series of diptychs, triptychs, icons, crosses and magic scrolls. The collection of icons is the largest and most representative in the world. You can also see traditional music instruments from across Ethiopia.

Next to the university gates you’ll see a London double-decker bus that was brought here by Haile Selassie and is now a bar usually always full of students.

eth national museum

The National Museum has a collection on display which is ranked among the most important in sub-Saharan Africa. The highlight here is the paleontological exhibition in the basement, home to the world-famous Lucy. She was discovered in 1974 in the Afar region of northwestern Ethiopia and changed the understanding of human origins forever. This section is well-labeled in English.

On the ground floor are displays of the pre-Aksumite, Aksumite, Solomonic and Gonderian periods. In the middle of the room is a collection of lavish royal paraphernalia.

On the first floor is an impressive display of Ethiopian art ranging from early parchment to 20th century canvas oil paintings by leading modern artists. One of the more notable pieces is the huge African Heritage by Afewerk Tekle.

The second floor has a collection of secular arts and crafts. There are English-speaking guides available.

eth red terror museum

The mother of four teenage children who were killed on the same day by the Derg officially opened the “Red Terror” Martyrs Memorial Museum in 2010. In a couple of rooms visitors can see the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie and the horrors of life under Mengistu’s Derb regime. The Red Terror was a campaign of oppression and mass killings in Ethiopia under the control of communist Mengistu Haile Mariam.

eth red-terror-martyrs-memorial

Here on the walls visitors can see photos and read the names of some of the estimated half a million people killed under the Derg. (The Derg is the short name of the Coordinating Committee of Armed Forces, Police and Territorial Army that ruled Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987). There are displays of human belongings dug out of mass graves. Some of the skulls and other bones have photos alongside of the victims and their personal artifacts.  There are English-speaking guides available. .

eth st george

St. George Cathedral & Museum was commissioned by Emperor Menelik II to commemorate his 1896 defeat of the Italians in Adwa. The cathedral is dedicated to St. George, Ethiopia’s patron saint.  This is one of Addis Ababa’s most beautiful churches. The exterior is of grey stone with flashes of color and art. Sections of ceiling glow sky-blue and are gilded with stars. The outer walls are covered in paintings and mosaics by renowned artist Afewerk Tekle.

The church was built in traditional octagonal form in the neo-Classical style and completed in 1911. On the grounds just north of the cathedral is the museum. This museum has the best collection of ecclesiastical paraphernalia in the country outside St. Mary of Zion in Aksum. You can see lovely crowns, crosses, prayer sticks, holy scrolls, ceremonial umbrellas and the coronation outfits of Zewditu and Haile Selassie.

eth menelik II square

Directly opposite the St. George Cathedral is Menelik II Square with the statue built to celebrate the Ethiopian Victory in the Battle of Adwa.

eth menelik equestrian statue

The square plays host to civic celebrations to mark the victory and for the feast day of St. George Ethiopia’s patron saint. All roadside distance markers throughout Ethiopia gauge their distance to this square.

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Holy Trinity Cathedral is a massive and ornate cathedral and the second-most important place of worship in Ethiopia. This is the final resting place of Emperor Haile Selassie and his wife Empress Menen Asfaw.

eth holy-trinity-cathedral

The exterior of the cathedral has a large copper dome, spindly pinnacles and many statues. Inside you’ll find some grand murals of which the most notable is the depiction of the Holy Trinity by Afewerk Tekle. There are also some impressive stained-glass windows. The windows on the north side depict scenes from the Old Testament and on the south side from the New Testament. There are two beautifully carved imperial thrones, each made of white, ebony, ivory and marble.

To the south of the cathedral is the memorial and graves of the ministers that were killed by the Derg for their opposition in 1974. The churchyard has graves of many patriots who died fighting the Italian occupation. To the west of the cathedral is the tomb of the famous British suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst. On the north side is the tomb of Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

eth lion of judah 2

Lion of Judah Monument the Lion of Judah has long been the symbol of Ethiopia’s monarchy. The monument was erected on the eve of Haile Selassie’s coronation in 1930, looted by Italians in 1935 and placed in Rome next to the massive Vittorio Emanuele II Monument.

eth lion of judah

It was eventually returned to Addis Ababa in the 1960s.

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The Bete Maryam Mausoleum is located south of Menelik’s Palace. Here visitors experience having a priest open up the large metal door in the floor and then they descend into the crypt. There are four elaborate marble tombs of Empress Taitu, Emperor Menelik, Empress Zewditu and Princess Tsehai Haile Selassie.

eth tiglachen

The Tiglachin Monument is a memorial to Ethiopian and Cuban soldiers who were involved in the Ogaden War. It was built under Mengistu Haile Mariam. It is sometimes erroneously referred to as the “Derg Monument” but the monument doesn’t honor the Derg regime.

eth tiglachen 2

The monument consists of various elements – a central statue, a 50 m tall pillar , two wall reliefs on the sides and two squares where the portraits of Cuban soldiers are visible. The monument is located in front of the Black Lion Hospital.

eth bob marley

Bob Marley Square was named after the reggae icon Bob Marley. A bronze statues has been erected to him at a roundabout in the Gerji area.

eth bob marley 2

The statue in Ethiopia was the idea of brothers Zeleke Gessese, a musician and Addisu Gessesse, a music promoter and businessman. It is in commemoration of Bob Marley’s 70th birthday.

eth mount entoto

Entoto Panoramic Viewpoint can be found high atop of Mount Entoto the highest peak that overlooks Addis Ababa and reaches 3,200 meters above sea level. It offers spectacular views of the city.

eth Africa-Hall-Heritage

Africa Hall was built in 1961 by Emperor Haile Selassie. It is the seat of the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). It is an Italian-designed building. Visiting the building you need a passport and best if you are part of a group.

eth african hall window

Of particular interest is the monumental stained-glass window “Africa: Past, Present and Future” by artist Afewerk Tekle. It measures 150 sq m and fills one entire wall. It is one of the largest stained-glass windows in the world. During daytime hours the white marble floor of the foyer is flooded in rainbow colors.

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The Yekatit 12 Monument rises dramatically from the roundabout Siddist Kilo.

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This monument is dedicated to the thousands of innocent Ethiopians killed by the Italians as retribution for the attempt on Viceroy Graziani’s life on February 19, 1937. Yekatit 12 is a date on the Ethiopian calendar roughly equivalent to 19.

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  1. Very Nice Tour and Pictures.

    • Thank you Crystal. The more I write about Africa the more eager I am to see what else I can discover.

      • Seems to be a lot to discover

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