Addis Ababa is known to locals as just “Addis”. It is a quickly-evolving city whose economic growth is one of Africa’s greatest success stories. Addis Ababa was founded just over one hundred years ago. It is the capital is a multifaceted city that towers 2,400 meters above sea level on the Abyssinian plateau. There isn’t a cloud in the sky for about eight months out of the year. The warm sun beats down on culturally-stimulating museums and world-class restaurants. There are also fashionable boulevards and hip clubs. Addis Ababa has many surprises up its sleeve, ready to impress even the well-traveled visitors.
The Thought Provoking Museum in Addis Ababa
The thought-provoking National Museum is a great introduction to the rich history. This is of both Ethiopia and the continent as a whole. The highlight of the extensive collection is Lucy, the famously-fossilized hominid. It is dated at 3.2 million years old. Four main exhibition sections nearly overflow with artistic treasures. There are historic artifacts and cultural gems, including memorabilia from former rulers, ethnographic displays and archaeological finds from throughout the country.
The Dark Past Preserved in Addis Ababa
Between 1977 and 1978, the ruthless dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam ruled Ethiopia. He murdered as many as 100,000 Ethiopians. The Addis Ababa museum dedicated to the victims of the “Red Terror” opened in 2010. This is to honor the dead through haunting photographs. It displays detailed exhibits to educate visitors and locals on tolerance, peace and unity.
Addis Ababa’s ethnological Museum is another fascinating museum. It showcases body art, music, religion, burial rites, traditional games and more. This is from thousands of years of Ethiopian history. Housed in Haile Selassie’s former palace, the grand building itself is just as interesting as its collections.
Visitors can delve into the spirit of Addis Ababa at the Mercato. This is a huge open-air market nearly overflowing with aromatic spices. There are handmade carpets, vibrant cloths and authentic artwork. You can find everything from souvenirs to weapons there. Bargaining is welcome and expected by the sellers. If you are looking for something specific, hire a guide because the labyrinthine layout can be overwhelming. You won’t have to look far for an expert. Local boys are always hanging around the entrances looking for tourists. They will guide one through the dizzying array of shops for just a few dollars.
Addis Ababa’s nightlife really gets going around 11 pm and the party lasts until dawn. High-end bars stocked with top-shelf international spirits sit next to traditional pubs. Here you will enjoy a serving up tall glasses of tej, Ethiopia’s national drink. A mixture of honey and beer-like tela, the alcoholic drink is sweet and strong. Many night spots feature international DJs spinning the latest hits. Remember not to leave Addis Ababa without seeing a traditional music show. Belly dancers often sway to the azmari music, the traditional style played on single-string acoustic violins.
The only thing hotter than the nightlife in Addis Ababa may be the cuisine. World-class restaurants abound in the city, serving up spicy dishes that are usually eaten without utensils. If you visit during the Lenten season, be prepared to feast on mostly vegan cuisine, as the Ethiopian Orthodox Church forbids meat for the 40 days before Easter.
|Languages spoken||Amharic, English|
|Area (km2)||527.063 Km2|