all travel ideas for your Ethiopian trip to Addis Ababa and its surroundings
The so-called “New Flower”, located at an elevation of between 2,300 and 2,500 metres on the Choa highlands, has flourished less than 110 years ago. Its situation, which is atypical for Afri-ca but specific to the country, makes it the world’s third most elevated capital. With its popula-tion of about 5 million inhabitants, the capital does the splits between an exemplary modernity and a traditional way of life that does not turn towards the past but rather focuses on the present. Striking contrasts typical for countries in development are visible everywhere. It is between those two extremes that an exciting everyday life takes place. In the north you will find the uni-versities and museums district, extending between Arat Kilo, Sidit Kilo and Piazza. Churchill Road in the center, joining the south and the north of the city, is where most of the city’s public institutions are located and Menelik Avenue on the other side houses most of the state buil-dings. The Kazanchis district more to the east is best for nightlife and amateurs of “azmari bets” - the traditional cabarets. Bole Road heading to the airport on the south is the commercial artery of the city. Finally, the western district of Mercato is where you will find Africa’s largest marketplace.
You will find many restaurants, cafes and entertainment venues where you can have a taste of Ethiopian culture in Addis Ababa. The diversity and the quality of these restaurants, clubs and cafes makes it an interesting stopover during your Ethiopian tour. The capital is also very attractive: the Piazza district that dominates the north side of the city is certainly most pittoresque with its 19th century houses and their wooden porches. On the other hill, in Arat Kilo, you will find the two unmissable museums: the National Museum - where Lucy’s skeleton is exhibited - and the Ethnological Museum. In the same area you can visit the very distinctive Trinity Church founded by Haile Selassie, with its striking architectural mix: its dome, pinacles and the adjacent bell tower. The church premises are the place of burial of the emperor Haile Selassie and - what is more surprising - of the suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst. You might also want to see The Menelik Mausoleum in the city center, erected in 1911 by his daughter, empress Zawditu. The square church also called Beta Maryam, surmounted by a central dome and dominated by a golden crown, shelters the remains of the emperor, his wife - empress Taytu, their daughter - but also that of Haile Selassie’s daughter. Finally, in the western part of the city you will find the Mercato district - with the largest open air market of Africa. Mercato district is full of colourful shops, large covered spaces and narrow streets full of life and buzzing with all kinds of human activity. It is a delight to walk around in the fragrant smells of the spice market. You will also find tradi-tional clothing, beautiful basketry and diverse pieces of local craft in the area.
Addis Ababa’s surroundings offer a few interesting excursion destinations. One of them is the Menagesha forest and Mount Wuchacha at 40km from the city, an ideal site for walks. The fo-rest is under protection as it is home to endemic plants (including centenary trees) and to many species of monkeys, as well as three different species of antelopes (cape bushbucks, bush duikers and klipspringers). The crater lake of Mount Wenchi offers a sumptuous panorama and is a great place for horse riding. More to the south you will find some other interesting destinations, such as the Melka Kunture archeological site, the monolithic Adadi Mariam church or the Tiya stelae field - listed as UNESCO’s world heritage.
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