Yekatit 12 Martyr's monument on the Yekatit 12 Square commemorates the Ethiopians who was killed by the italians in February 19, 1937. (The name "Yekatit 12" is taken from the Ethiopian calandar which is different from the Coptic calendar. The date was Yekatit 12, 1929).
I took a city tour and asked the taxi driver to drive around Addis Ababa for a sightseeing. The taxis in Addis Ababa are old Soviet Lada's, and the cars are really in bad condition. But the drivers are friendly and funny. Remember to bargain the price before you enter the car. A 2-3 hour drive should be aprox 200 Birr.
The photo is the statue of King Menelik II on a horse to commemorate Ethiopia's victory over the Italians at the Battle of Adowa in 1896.
Ethiopia is a poor country and you will see a lot of beggars on the streets of Addis Ababa. Would you like to help without causing social problems? HOPE Enterprises runs a feeding centre on Churchill Avenue. Just stop by the office and you can buy a book of meal tokens for very little money. For less than 10 US cents you can provide a recipient with a nutritious meal at their feeding centre. If you give beggars on the street money without knowing what you are doing, often the money is spent on something other than food. HOPE makes sure they get the nourishing food the homeless people need to survive. Buy several books.
HOPE also does developmental project including helping people get an education. You can donate in person or via their website.
(Please do NOT take pictures of the people eating – it would be terribly rude).
Ethiopians like going to cinemas, especially on sundays. The cinema at Harambee Hotel in the downtown of Addis Ababa are among the most popular in Addis Ababa. On the picturers you can see the 50 metres queue in front of the cinema.
The Ethiopian National Theatre (formerly known as Haile Selassie I Theatre) was built during the Italian occupation with 350 seats, but expanded in 1955 to seat 1260 people. A process of giving a modern setting to Ethiopian traditional music should make the tradition survive.
The Menelik monument in the middle of a roundabout close to the Piazza area is a symbol of independence and pride, and was erected to commemorate the emperor Menelik II's victory over the Italians at the 1896 Battle of Adwa. The Italians withdraw their troups from Ethiopia after this battle.
OK. Don’t get too excited. The Town Hall of Addis Ababa is a massive soviet-style monolith of a building overlooking the whole city. It has a huge tower right in the middle with the tallest clock in Ethiopia at the top. During the Ethiopian Millennium (2007) it was decorated with the number ‘2000’ designating the Millennium according to the Ethiopian Calendar. And that’s where the information really stops. It is a massive office block housing the city government doing routine things like organising the city’s transport, cleaning services, sewers and whatever a city government does. For some reason they guard this place like a top-secret facility and any requests for information on how high the tower is to a tour are viewed as a threat to security. In all my visits to Addis I have never even been allowed to walk towards the entrance r find any information on the building. Their website is notorious for not working as well.
Oh well, you can still see it from great distances.
BETA MARYAM Church is very hard to find, but this sight is a good reason to find it. They have at least 6 Giant Tortoises happily crawling (slowly) around munching on whatever they can get their mouths on. These land turtles can grow up to 2 meters in length and live to be about 150 years old. These guys are worth a look.
You can find more information and directions about Beta Maryam here.
Want to go to Somalia? SOMALILAND is the peaceful and Independent part of Somalia and an excellent place to go for a visit. Before you go you must have a visa PRIOR to arrival by airplane or on a land border. There are only 5 ‘Embassies’ for Somaliland in the world: USA, UK, Italy, Ethiopia and Djibouti. This tip is about my very easy and friendly experience with their office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Their Embassy in Addis Ababa has a few security concerns so they do not advertise their address or have any markings on their building. Do not worry! My Taxi driver knew the general directions off Bole Rd. and we stopped and asked the neighbours until we found it. It is in a very rich neighbourhood. They are open Monday – Friday 8:30am-12:30pm and 2:00pm-3:30pm. I arrived without contacting them beforehand, but I took my passport, 2 passport photos and $40. They finished it in about 10 minutes. That’s it. If you want better directions, just telephone their office ahead of time. They speak English.
If you live in a country that does not have a representative, either get it in Addis Ababa or contact the closest Embassy by telephone or email and arrange to do it by post. They even have the Visa Form you can download here:
All Passport holders need a visa and they seem to accept everyone without question.
Due to space limitations on VT I have listed their 5 Embassies on the tip below this one!
The zoo is not nice. The lions are kept inside cages and are disturbed by people all the time.
You pay for entrance, but you also have to pay if you choose to go inside with a camera. I heard 150 Birr for a videocamera. That is really a tourist trap. So if you don't want to take photo's of the lions there, you can leave your camera at the entrance for free
Most ATM Machines in Addis Abbaba you see on the street are not connected to the major ATM worldwide networks. Outside of Addis Ababa you will not find ATM's at all. There are 2 machines (both pictured) that is provided by Dashen Bank and they are connected to major banking networks! They are located in the lobbies of the Sheraton Hotel and the Hilton Hotel. They are on the PLUS and VISA networks.
To the North of Addis is a park area. While we saw no wildlife, we did see the 'famous' carvings in the rock.
Not sure what the purpose was, or who did it. The park is free, but they charge you 10 Birr to take photos (unless they don't see you).
About 30 mins South of Addis by car is the historical site museum.
We got in free but it is usually 20 Birr
4 huts contain info on tectonics, homo-sapien development and local stone use.
A little boring unless you have an interest in the particulars of this area.
When wandering around Addis, you will see many things that stick in your mind.
For me, the scaffolding used on tall buidings will stick in my mind. Forget steel and boards, they use just wooden poles tied with string. Is this safe?
Also, on any street, expect cars, people, goats, donkeys and dogs!!!
Just to the North of Addis, you will find Maryiam Church and Entoto National Park. You have a viewpoint to see unrivaled views of Addis.
Take a cab or use 2/3 minibuses from Piazza.
When we went, the rain was heavy, so we couldn't see anything for cloud, and got soaked.
If fine, well worth a trip
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