Addis Ababa & its surrounds

  • Addis Ababa is the world’s third highest capital city and lies in the central highlands of Ethiopia at an altitude of 2400m. It was founded little more than a century ago during the time of Emperor Menelik II. Despite its proximity to the Equator, the lofty altitude of the world’s third-highest capital enjoys a mild, Afro-alpine climate. Temperate weather almost through out the year interrupted by the occasional torrential down pours.
  • From its inception Addis Ababa was clustered around two main centers: the palace to the east and the market, with Saint George’s church, to the west. Together they generated so much activity that the capital grew and developed rapidly.
  • By the late 1950s Addis Ababa was recognized as the unofficial capital of Africa, and thus was made the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in 1958 and later, in 1963, chosen as headquarters of the African union (AU).
  • Today Addis Ababa which bears the imprint of many of these past developments is a major metropolis, with an estimated population of more than 3million. The city stands at the very heart of Ethiopia and is Africa’s unchallenged diplomatic capital, with more than seventy embassies and consular representatives clustered in the mountain city.

What to see

The National Museum

    • Displays various archeological, paleontological and cultural collections from different parts of the country mainly from the northern regions.

Addis Ababa & its surrounds

  • Dinqinesh (Lucy) The museum contains a replica of the early hominid ‘Lucy’ (the original is kept for security in a nearby safe). In 1974 the 3.5 million year old remains of ancestral Australopithecus Afareniss were found and these were nicknamed ‘Lucy’. This is only one of the many major scientific discoveries in the area: only twenty years later, in 1994, that scientists dug up the fossilized remains of a chimpanzee-sized ape from 4.4 million years ago at a site seventy-five kilometers (45 miles) south of where ‘Lucy’ was found, the latest find consists of the 5.8 million year old
  • The discovery of these remains has given rise to the theory that Ethiopia is the Cradle of Humankind. Also many historical artifacts, ancient coins and paintings are displayed. The newer Addis Ababa Museum, opened in 1986, focuses on the political, cultural and architectural history of the capital.

Anthropological museum:

  • Part of the emperor’s former palace now houses the institute of Ethiopian studies, library and Ethnological museum which provide an interesting overview of Ethiopian crafts, culture and art. The art section contains an extensive collection of well displayed classical religious icons and artifacts, as well as more recent paintings.


  • It is the largest open air market in Africa between Cairo and Johannesburg one can find a bewildering selection of grain, spices, clothes ironware, pots and pans, and curios for the tourist market. It is a colorful and vibrant place in which hard bargaining is the order of the day.


Addis Ababa & its surrounds

  • Is the city’s second main shopping area, Piazza, provides a calmer environment and, in many cases, better quality goods. As its name suggests, Piazza has an Italian flavor. Sprawling out along Adwa Avenue, it is an area of gold and silver smiths, cake shops filled with delicious pastries, coffee bars shoe shops, tailors, video libraries and electronics retailers. A short distance from Piazza lies the long thoroughfare of Churchill Avenue where a wide variety of shops specialize in Ethiopian handicrafts and other curios and souvenirs of interest to the tourist.
  • Other main places of interest are Trinity Cathedral, the Railway station, lion of Judah monument, St.George church, the statue of Menelik, St.peter square, Menelik mausoleum and St.Mary church, Entoto panoramic view, the museum and former palace of emperor Menelik II, The lion’s zoo, its flourishing cultural life, with regular exhibitions and lectures. There are many opportunities to experience Ethiopian music; song and dance and variety of nightclubs offer all manner of music and dancing from Ethiopian to modern pop. There are also many other specialized restaurants in the city, including Chinese, Italian, French, Indian, Armenian, Arabic and Greek.

Day trips from Addis Ababa

Menagesha Forest Debre Libanos Blue Nile Gorge Wonchi Crater Lake

Debre Birhan & Ankober Bishoftu (Debre Zeit) Sodore Resort Koka Dam

Tiya Monuments Melka Kunture Adadi Maryam Lake Ziway