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Addis Ababa Attractions

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Attractions of Addis Ababa

  1. National Museum

    Housing the nation's artistic treasures as well as many of the most precious archaeological finds, the National Museum of Ethiopia is one of the bests in Africa.

    The NME at present has four main exhibition sections. The basement is dedicated to archaeological and paleoanthropological sections.

    This area show the fossilized remains of early hominids, the most famous of which is "Lucy," the partial skeleton of a specimen of Australopithecus Afarensis.

    The first floor contains objects from ancient and medieval periods, as well as regalia and memorabilia from former rulers, who include Emperor Haile Selassie. The second floor show art work in a chronological order, from traditional to contemporary works. These include murals, by Afewerk Tekle and other Ethiopian artists. Finally, the third floor has an ethnographic display. Here, the museum tries to give an overview of the cultural richness and variety of the peoples of Ethiopia.

  2. Ethnological Museum

    Ethnological Museum is simply one of the finest museums in Africa.

    It's found within Haile Selassie's former palace and surrounded by the beautiful gardens and fountains of Addis Ababa University's main campus. The museum first introduces some of the major tribes of Ethiopia, goes through the history and importance of coffee in Ethiopian culture. There's also an impressive collection of Ethiopian Orthodox paintings, triptychs, and Orthodox crosses. But the best part about the Ethnological Museum is being able to go into the former bedroom and bathroom facilities of the highly regarded Emperor Haile Selassie (Ras Tafari).

    Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES) is also found on the ground part of this building. This institute boasts the world's best collection of books in English on Ethiopia.

  3. St. George's Cathedral & Museum

    To commemorate his stunning victory over the Italians at the battle of Adwa in 1896, Emperor Menelik II had commissioned the construction of St. George's Cathedral, whose icon was carried into the battle. Empress Zewditu (in 1916) and Emperor Haile Selassie (in 1930) were both crowned here. The compound is located on the top of a hill, overlooking the Adwa square, where the equestrian statue of Menlik II is erected.

    Inside the church you can walk in a circle around the cathedral, observing an incredible set of paintings portraying both scenes from the Bible and from Ethiopian history.

    To the side of the cathedral is a museum which is worth a quick stroll. It's well presented and contains one of the best collections of ecclesiastical paraphernalia in the country.

    Items include beautiful crowns, hand crosses, prayer sticks, holy scrolls, ceremonial umbrellas and the coronation garb of Zewditu and Haile Selassie.

  4. Holy Trinity Cathedral and Museum

    Built by the pocket money of Emperor Hailesilasie, the Holy Trinity Cathedral is the most sacred Ethiopian Orthodox church in the city. It's also the celebrated final resting place of Emperor Haile Selassie and his wife Empress Menen Asfaw. The cathedral's interior and exterior is decorated with numerous statues, carvings, and grand murals. There are also some brilliant stained-glass windows and two beautifully carved imperial thrones, each made of white ebony, ivory and marble.

    At the back of the cathedral is a museum, where you can see more Ethiopian historical memorabilia, crowns of former Ethiopian Emperors, and an incredibly well preserved ancient Amharic Bibles and religious writings.

    Covered with indigenous trees, the churchyard hosts the graves of many patriots, ministers, and celebrities.

  5. Mercato

    It's crowded, it's chaotic, but the Addis Mercato is so incredibly entertaining and full of life and character, that walking around is one of the best things to do in Addis Ababa.

    The Mercato, coming from the Italian word for market, claims to be the largest open air market in Africa. There are so many different sections of the market and you can buy everything from souvenirs to clothes to food. That being said, it's also a great place to buy nothing and just go to watch the crowds of people and observe the incredible loads being carried from place to place.

  6. Entoto Hills, St. Marry Church & Mnelik II's Palace

    Covered by an Australia imported eucalyptus trees, Mount Entoto (3,200 meters above sea level) is the highest peak overlooking the city of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and has views of the city.

    It is an ideal place for visitors to get used to the altitude, escape from the busy city life, hiking, and rural life style before going back home.

    Entoto is also a historical place where you can visit the first Palace of Addis Ababa built by Emperor Menelik II in 1970s. It is the location of numerous celebrated churches, including Saint Raguel and Saint Mary, where Menelik II was crowned in 1882.

    Emperor Menelik & Empress Taitu Memorial Museum, in the church grounds, is also worth visiting. It is filed with lots of interesting items - including medals from the Sydney and other olympics won by different athletes of Ethiopia.

    Before or after the excursion to Entoto hills, it can be a good idea to stop over the colorful market of Sheromeda, where you can find local handmade clothes and jewelries.

  7. The Zoological Natural History Museum (ZNHM)

    The zoological Natural History Museum at Addis Ababa University (AAU) houses the wildlife attractions of Ethiopia. The faunal collections at the ZNHM-AAU range from tiny invertebrates (corals, echinoderms mollusks, arachnids, insects) to robust vertebrates (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals). Among these collections are included Ethiopian endemics such as the Mountain Nyala, Gelada Baboon, Walia Ibex and a lot more. The specimens are preserved in the form of full or head mounts, horns, skulls, skins and within liquid chemicals. As the collections are housed under a roof visiting the this museum would mean experiencing Ethiopian wildlife at a glimpse. The Museum's suitable location at the central part of Addis Ababa, Arat kilo area makes it easy for visitors to access. It is also a good opportunity for researchers to study the collections and use them for reference purposes.

  8. National Postal Museum

    The Ethiopian National Postal Museum is located on the ground floor of the General Post Office building on Churchill Road, in Addis Ababa. Since its establishment the museum has acquired great collections of philatelic products and treasures. The collection comprises the nation's postal history and gives enormous knowledge about the country's past economic, political, social and cultural life. In accordance with international standards, the museum possesses and displays philatelic products including Ethiopian and Universal Postal Union (UPU) members' stamps, postal stationeries and other related materials.

  9. Meskel Square / Revolution Square

    Meskel Square is a square located at the heart of the city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is often a site for public gathering or for demonstrations and festivals, notably, the Meskel Festival from which it takes its name.

    Every September 27, hundreds of thousands gather at the Square to celebrate Meskel, the annual commemoration of the founding of a true cross on which Christ has been crucified.

    After 1974, however, Meskel Square was renamed "Abiot" or Revolution Square by the socialist government.

    Eventually, the original name of Meskel Square has been restored and it's the official name of the area today.

    The square is often used for other secular purposes. Concerts, parades, and various other government and public events are held there. Political parties often hold rallies in the square. Part of the public ceremonies surrounding the re-burial of Emperor Haile Selassie took place in the square as well. The annual "Great Ethiopian Run" passes through Meskel Square. The national monument in memory of those massacred by the Derg regime in the "Red Terror" of the 1970s has been built at the eastern entrance to the square.

    Meskel Square is also a chaotic intersection in the city. Without a single traffic light, or a traffic controller in sight, you will can vehicles simply work around each other trying not to bump.

  1. Yekatit 12 Martyrs Square (Sidist Kilo)

    The Yekatit 12 Square (Sidist Kilo) monument stands in tribute to the thousands of innocent martyrs butchered by the Fascist Italian Occupiers on that date in in the Ethiopian Calender year of 1929 (1936 Gregorian Calendar). The massacre took place at the order of the Italian Vice-Roy Marshal Grazziani in response to an assassination attempt against him carried out by two pro-Ethiopia Eritreans.

    The construction of this monument was sponsored by Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia, who used to be prisoner of Fascist Italian. The monument is in the form of a white obelisk with black bas reliefs of scenes of the massacre as well as scenes of the Imperial funeral accorded to the remains of the victims in the presence of the Emperor following the liberation around it. A Lion of Judah also decorates the face of the obelisk.

    Yekatit 12 Hospital, Addis Ababa University (formerly palace of Haile Selassie I), the old Imperial Lion Zoo, the Churches of Menbere Leul Kidus Markos & Meskia Hazunan Medhane Alem, the American and Greek Embassies etc are close neighbors of the monument.

  2. Victory Statue (Miazia 27)

    This monument is located at Arat Kilo, and commemorates Ethiopia's victory over the Fascist Italians in 1941 as well as those gallant Ethiopians who perished resisting the invading Fascist forces during 1936 -1941 war. The official name of the square where the monument is Miazia 27, i.e, the day of the liberation of the country and the arrival of the Emperor together with his patriotic troops in Addis Ababa. Emperor Haile Selassie inaugurated the Freedom Monument in 1944. As can be seen, 15-meter monument symbolizing the obelisks of Axum is supported by pillars and has six entrances. The entire history of the five years struggle is narrated by writings carved on the stone tablets round the monument. On the western entrance is read the discourse of Emperor Haile Selassie at the time of arrival and the day of liberation in 1941.

    The top of the monument reveals the Lion of Judah holding the Ethiopian flag in its leg and facing the north direction. On the same place at the top in the western side is seen a clock with its short hand indicating one o'clock, i.e., the time of arrival of the patriots in Addis Ababa.

  3. The Lion of Judah Monument

    Since 1930, the Lion of Judah Monument stands in the square in front of Addis Ababa - Djibouti railway station. The Lion of Judah with it's complete glory stands on a black granite pedestal which is decorated with relief portraits of Emperors Menelik II, Haile Selassie I, Empress Zewditu, and Ras Makonnen.

    It was looted by the Italian occupiers in 1935 and taken to Rome, where it was erected next to the Vittorio Emanuelle Monument. The monument remained in Rome for several decades, and was finally returned to Addis Ababa after long negotiations in the 1960's. When it was re-erected in it's square the day it arrived, the Emperor was present in military uniform to salute.

    This monument marks the foot of the city's renowned avenue, Churchill Road which has the impressive Addis Ababa City Hall at it's other end.

  4. Abune Petros Monument

    Just West of Addis Ababa's impressive City Hall, down the hill on the main road to the Merkato district is Abune Petros Square with it's imposing statue. Abune Petros, the Ethiopian Orthodox Bishop of Wello, was executed by the Italians at the edge of this very square.

    In 1936, the Fascist armies of Benito Mussolini occupied much of Ethiopia, and Abune Petros joined resistance leaders to plan an attack on the Italians to drive them out of Addis Ababa. The attack failed in 1937, and the Bishop was captured.

    Defiantly refusing to submit to Italian rule, he was shot to death.

    Emperor Haile Selassie had the statue erected in the memory of this great Bishop upon his restoration to the throne.

  5. The Addis Ababa Museum

    This was once the residence of Ras(count) Biru, the defence minister of Emperor Menelik II. It accomodates significant culutural items that reflect the growth and development of the city. Photographs that depict the progress of the city and weapons used during the battle of Adowa are on display.

  6. Statue of Menelik II (Adwa Square)

    In Menelik II Square stands the imposing equestrian statue of Emperor Menelik II, the victor of Adawa. The statue was erected by Emperor Haile Selassie and dedicated on the day before his coronation in 1930, in memory of his great predecessor. The square is located outside the main gates of St. George Cathedral (Genete Tsige Menagesha Kidus Giorgis), and is close to City Hall. The distance markers on all the highways in Ethiopia mark the distance to their location from the base of the statue of Emperor Menelik II in this Square.

  7. Ba'ata Church (Menelik's Mausoleum)

    Menelik's Mausoleum, part of Ba'ata Maryam church, is located just south of Menelik's (Grand) palace and offers an enchantingly eerie experience for travellers.

    Menelik II died in 1913 and first buried at the Se'el Bet Kidane Meheret Church, on the grounds of the Imperial Palace. In 1916 Menelik II was reburied in the specially built church at Ba'eta Le Mariam Monastery of Addis Ababa.

    There today you will find the four elaborate marble tombs of Empress Taitu, Emperor Menelik, Empress Zewditu and Princess Tsehai Haile Selassie.

  8. Tiglachin Monument

    Built under Mengistu Haile Mariam on Churchill Avenue in Addis Ababa, the Tiglachin monument is a memorial to Ethiopian and Cuban soldiers involved in the Ogaden War.

    Ethiopian-Somali War or Ogaden War was a conventional conflict fought by Ethiopia and Somalia in 1977 and 1978 over the disputed Ogaden region in present-day eastern Ethiopia.

    Donated by the government of North Korea, the monument was inaugurated on 12 September 1984 for the 10 anniversary of the overthrow of Haile Selassie.

    The monument is composed 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.

  9. 'Red Terror' Martyrs Memorial Museum

    'Red Terror' Martyrs Memorial Museum was inaugurated in 2010.

    Red Terror was a violent political campaign in Ethiopia and Eritrea that most visibly took place after Communist Mengistu Haile Mariam achieved control of the Derg, the military junta, on 3 February 1977 Over the space of a couple of rooms the museum reveals the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie and the horrors of life under Mengistu's Derg regime. The walls are bearing photos and names of some of the estimated half a million killed under the Derg. It also display cabinets filled with human remains dug out of mass graves. Some of the skulls and other bones are displayed alongside a photo of the victim and personal artifacts they had on them when they died.

    The watch hanging in one display case was given by the victim to his wife with the words 'Keep this safe. One day you will need it', just as he was led away by the soldiers of the Derg. When the museum opened she brought it here.

  10. The National Theater & Lion of Judah

    Formerly known as the Haile Selassie I Theatre, the hall had begun to be built during the Italian occupation as the Cinema Marconi with some 350 seats. The building was later completed in 1955 for the celebrations of the Silver Jubilee, and expanded to seat 1260 people. The theatre group was founded by the government in the late 1940s, with the main objective of playing Ethiopian songs by soloists accompanied by a modern orchestra. It is the biggest theater in Ethiopia and still functional.

    Just in front of it is the statue of the statue of black stone made Lion of Judah, landmark of Addis Ababa.

  11. Hager Fikir Theater

    The Hager Fikir Theatre in Addis Ababa is not only the theatre with the greatest tradition in Ethiopia but also the oldest indigenous theatre in Africa. It stands for more than 70 years of cultural life in Addis Ababa. It is a playhouse where modern Ethiopian music and drama were born and nurtured.

    Many stars like Aster Aweke, Tilahun Gessesse and Frew Hailu began their careers on the stage of Hager Fikir Theatre. Both traditional Ethiopian plays and translations of European playwrights by William Shakespeare, Friedrich Schiller, Henrik Ibsen and Molière have been produced at Hager Fikir Theatre in recent decades.

  12. Al-Anwar Mosque

    This mosque is the main religious center for Muslims in and around the capital. The largest and the oldest Mosque in Addis Ababa, the Al-Anwar Masjid (also know as The Grand Anwar Mosque) stands in the heart of the open air market of Merkato and was built in 1922. Merkato is believed to be the biggest open air market in Africa.

    The mosque has a nice architecture with white and green colours. It is single-storied and has a green colored dome and a towering minaret. The floor inside is carpeted. The architecture is simple yet beautiful featuring typical Islamic style.