Petra Tours Ethiopia - About Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa, capital and largest city of Ethiopia, the country's commercial, manufacturing, and cultural center. It is situated in central Ethiopia at an elevation of about 2440 m (about 8000 ft) above sea level on a plateau that is crossed by numerous streams and surrounded by hills. It is the focus of a highway network, the site of an international airport, and the terminus of a railroad to the Gulf of Aden port of Djibouti, capital of the neighboring state of Djibouti. In the city are printing industries, and manufactures include footwear, clothing, asbestos and metal products, processed foods, cement, and plywood. Flourishing handicraft industries produce leather, metal, and textile goods, which are traded along with the regional agricultural produce, such as coffee, tobacco, and dairy items, in the vast open-air market known as the Mercato, on the western side of the city.

Addis Ababa is a sprawling city, well wooded, especially with eucalyptus trees, and crossed by broad avenues. Modern, multistoried buildings sit side by side with traditional one- and two-storied structures and open spaces. Its high elevation gives the city a mild, pleasant climate. The city is the seat of Addis Ababa University (1950), schools of music and art, and several research institutes. As headquarters of the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the city is the scene of many international conferences. Of note in the city are the octagon-shaped Saint George Coptic Christian Cathedral (1896), the modern Africa Hall with its dramatic stained-glass windows, and the Menelik II Palace, as well as several museums with collections of art, ethnology, and archaeology.

The modern city was founded in 1887 at the site of a hot springs by Emperor Menelik II and given the name Addis Ababa, Amharic for “new flower.” It became the national capital in 1889. The city's somewhat haphazard and unplanned growth was spurred by the completion in 1917 of the railroad to Djibouti. From 1936 to 1941 Addis Ababa was occupied by the Italians, who made it the capital of Italian East Africa and instituted extensive modernization projects. Between 1960 and 1970 the population of the city nearly doubled, and new light manufacturing industries were established. In 1963 the charter establishing the Organization of African Unity was signed here. Population 2,723,000 (2003 estimate).

Some of the tourist attactions in Addis Ababa

NATIONAL MUSEUM: This comprises of many archaeological and historical findings, including the famous complete hominid fossil remains of “Lucy” locally known as Dinknesh meaning “wonderful”.

ETHNOLOGICAL MUSEUM: It is found in the main campus of Addis Ababa University by the institute of Ethiopian studies with the aim to preserve the country’s historical and cultural heritages. It has a complete collection that describes almost all tribal groups in Ethiopia. Here you will have an overview about the history, culture and tradition of Ethiopian people.

SAINT GEORGE CATHEDRAL MUSEUM AND CHURCH: This octagonal church, which was built by Emperor Menilik II in 1896 in commemoration of Ethiopian victory over the Italian invaders at the battle of Adwa. Here you will visit paintings by the Maitre Artist Afework Tekle have decorated the interior wall and glass window of the church and other ecclesiastical royal and cultural heritage of the past are displayed in cathedral’s small museum within the compound.

TRINITY CATHEDRAL: The architecturally magnificent Trinity Church is the best Cathedral Church in Addis Ababa. Here visitors can also visit the burial place of Emperor Haile Selassie I and his wife Empress Mennen.

MOUNT ENTOTO: It is the highest peak in Addis Ababa with an altitude of 3200 meter, which was the site for the first palace of Emperor Menilik II. Here one can see a small but fully displayed museum that shows articles of historical significance those were denoted by members of royal family, foreign diplomats and individuals, Saint Mary Church where Emperor Menilik II crowned as an emperor of Ethiopia in it and you will admire the panoramic view of the city with its surrounding forest and breath taking air.

MERKATO: It is the largest open – air market in Africa. Here you will be presented with confusing but fascinating glimpse of the very vast range of goods and artifacts available from all parts of the country and you will enjoy the Ethiopian trade exchange tradition in the open air and you can purchase anything you need it.