The most interesting Museum in Addis Abeba for me is the Ethnological Museum in the former palace of Haile Selassie.
At the first floor you can find an outstanding exhibition of all the traditions of the country from birth to death, like childhood, games, rites, nomadism, body culture, traditional medicine, burial customs.
I was surprised about its beauty, quality and especially its originality. So, I enjoyed this part of the museum very much.
At the second floor you can find a thematic exhibition of all kinds of traditional music instruments and listen to the music too. There are also icons, Ethiopian crosses and other religious art exhibited at this floor.
In the museum you can also visit the bedroom and the bathroom of Haile Selassi.
8am till 5 pm at Tues Wed Thur Fri (closed at lunchtime from 11.30am till 1.30 pm)
10am till 6pm at Sat Sun.
Entrance fee: 20 birr
If you like to see Lucy, our famous ancestor, you have to go to the National Museum of Addis Abeba. This fossilised homonid, named Lucy, is discovered in 1974. In reality you will see the replica, because the real bones are preserved in the archives of the museum. In the basement of the museum around Lucy you can see a lot of other fossiles.
At the ground and first floor you will see a lot of archaeological and ethnological artefacts, like earthenware, pots, bowls and statues, focusing at the (pre)Aksumite, Solomonic and Gonder periods.
At the first floor you can find Ethiopian art. During our visit there was also the temporary World Press Exhibition. This was the second time during my Africa trip I saw this exhibition. (The first time was in Nigeria.)
The National Museum is one of the most important Sub-Saharan museums in Africa.
8.30am - 5.30pm, Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri
9am -5.30pm, Sat Sun
Entrance fee: 10 Birr
This is probably the best museum in Ethiopia. It is housed within Haile Selassie's former palace and surrounded by the beautiful gardens of Addis Ababa University. It contains an amazing amount of exhibits and charts the history of Ethiopia. It also displays traditional life in various tribes from birth until death. The sheer amount of costumes, weapons, musical instruments and household items through history is staggering. It also contains Haile Selassie's bedroom and bathroom. There are even small exhibits on currency, modern art and politics. This is a must see here in Addis.
Unfortunately photography is strictly forbidden inside and they take your camera off you. Don’t even try it.
They have a small gift shop with English books and even postcards.
If you only go to one museum, this is the one. Even if you don't want to go to a museum go! A thouroughly modernized museum with high-quality exhibits, it has gotten a lot of aide through Italian organizations.
It over a superb overview of Ethiopian art, music, crafts, and culture. When we visited, there were two excellent exhibits on Ethiopian musical instruments, and another on Ethiopian religious icons and crosses.
Truly a must see.
St George Church Museum is located inside the St. George’s Church compound. It was established in 1975 to preserve not only ecclesiastical items, but also significant historical treasures from Ethiopia’s recent history. The guided tour takes you through 2 levels of amazing exhibits including the coronation robes of Empress Zawditu (1916) and Emperor Haile Selassie I (1930) and the coronation throne of the latter. The most interesting exhibits, in my opinion, are the rifles and uniforms issued to Emperor Menelik’s army when they defeated the Italian Army at the Battle of Adwa in 1896. This also includes large helmets made from lion's manes, curved swords and even real tridents.
There are also cases of displays of many Religious items from hand-written parchments to gold crosses and clergy robes.
The interesting statue outside (pictured) is of Abune Petros - the Bishop of Wello. He was martyred by the Italians in 1937 when he refused to renounce his allegiance to Emperor Haile Selassie. There is also a massive bell that was a gift from the Russian Emperor to the Kingdom of Ethiopia before the Russian Revolution.
This is a must see in Addis Ababa and cost less than $3 to visit including the St George’s Church (Cathedral) next door.
The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday 9am-12pm and 2pm-5pm
What the National Museum lacks in size, it makes up with great displays. Relics from Stone Age man all the way through modern day are on display. Some of the more interesting exhibits are coronation thrones of the Emperors, tribal exhibits with clothes & weapons, art, musical instruments and hand made animal-skin Bibles written in Geez. They are able to even display more than 200 styles of cross found across the country. There are some exhibits related to several Emperors that tell the story of Ethiopia. Their most prized display is of our ancient ancestor LUCY. There is also a disturbing set of displays related to the starvation and Communist persecution. A must visit here in Addis.
It is open from 0830-1230 and 1330-1730. Please note it has a dual pricing policy (local/foreigner).
The Ethiopian National Museum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia houses archaeological artifacts showing the history of Ethiopia from prehistoric times to the modern day. It contains historical, cultural and archeological heritage.
The museum is divided into paleontology and pre history section (The 3.2 million year-old skeleton of "Lucy" is in this museum. That is the oldest hominid that has ever been found), historical archeology section, ethnology section and modern art section.
8.30am - 5.30pm, Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri
9am -5.30pm, Sat Sun
Entrance fee: 10 Birr
This is a fantastic museum, if you can find it. Housed in a huge ramshackle house of a minor royal, it tells the story of the founding of Addis Ababa in 1886. Pictures are strictly forbidden. Don’t ask how I got these. The exhibits and photos show how a Polish advisor to Emperor Menelik suggested Addis Ababa as the future site of the Ethiopian capital. It was high enough to avoid malaria, had fertile ground and lots of water. Eucalyptus trees were imported because they grow fast and could meet the needs of a new capital. The area was also blessed by healing hot springs.
Please note: the guide will demand a ‘gift’ at the end of the tour. Don’t do it. Tell him you need to go to a bank and you will be back.
Pretty drab museum, but in the cellar is the remains/model of Lucy, the earliest known homo sapien.
Forget the exact price of admission but not more than 20 Birr.
Worth a look but don't expect to spend hours here.
There are two museums worth seeking out while in ADDIS, luckily they are both on the road to Arat Kilo and Entoto Hills in the North of Addis...dont worry everyone will know where you want to go if you just say Museums...
#1 The National Museum
This one contains the famous hominid woman 'Lucy' who is over 3.5million years old. You can take photos. The remains are in the centre of a square room, located in an octagonal shaped glass 'showcase'....thought it would be more spectacular...but the history definitely is!
On the other floors there are statues and monuments from the Axumite and pre-Christian eras.
The grounds are stunningly green and distant from the noisy city around.
#2 the Ethnographic Museum
Further up and located in the main campus of Addis Ababa University is this great little place. It isa former royal chateau and houses ceremoniuos regalia and royal wear. The upper floors are dedicated to Ethiopian artists. The rooms are light and airy and all have a view. Remember to get a guide, they are cheap and embellish the exhibits.
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