Addis Ababa (the name means 'new flower') is of fairly recent origin - Menelik 11 founded the city in 1887. Situated in the foothills of the Entoto Mountains and standing 2,400 metres above sea level it is the third highest capital in the world. The city has a population of about two million.
Before moving to the present site of Addis Ababa, Menelik had established temporary capitals at six different locations caused by exhausting the fuel wood at each of these sites. Addis itself was in danger of being abandoned until the introduction of fast-growing eucalyptus trees from Australia provided the city with a regular source of fuel. Addis Ababa is an important administrative centre not only for Ethiopia but also for the whole of Africa. The headquarters of the UN Economic Commission for Africa was established here in 1958 and it is the site of the AU's secretariat.
Africa Hall is on Menelik 11 Ave - an imposing symbol of African independence and optimism. It houses the headquarters of the UN Economic Commission for Africa. The huge stained glass windows depict the suffering of the people of Africa. The Filwoha springs are just to the west of the Africa Hall. These springs, which have obviously lost some of their former beauty, prompted Queen Taytu to persuade her husband to establish his new capital at Addis Ababa. The thermal waters are now diverted to an adjacent bathing complex. Also next to the Africa Hall lies the huge Square a natural amphitheater where parades are held every September to mark the 1974 revolution. Portraits of Marx, Angels, Lenin and Comrade Mengistur used to adorn the square.
St George's Cathedral:
St George's Cathedral (Giorgis Cathedral). lies at the north end of Churchill Rd. Built in 1896 in the traditional octagonal shape to commemorate Ethiopia's victory over the Italians at the Battle of Adwa, the Cathedral houses the work of Afewerk Tekle, the renowned Ethiopian artist responsible for the stained glass windows of the Africa Hall. Cathedral opens 0800-1200 and 1400-1700. There is a small museum in the compound.
The small National Museum is located at Han St / Kilo crossroads, just north of St Mary's Church. Guides are the only real source of information, since the exhibits are poorly labelled, but they vary in standard. The exhibits are varied, and include Lucy; the female fossil skeleton found in northeast Ethiopia in 1974, believed to be about three and a half million years old. The museum has an extensive collection of artifacts, some predating the Axumite civilization of Tigre. It also includes a selection of the more than 200 designs of crosses found in Ethiopia. It is open from 0830-1230 and 1330-1730 near the Museum are the lion cages, probably the only place in Ethiopia to the Abyssinian Lion. the cages are probably best not visited by animal lovers.
Menelik II 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. Every year, on the anniversary of the victory of the Battle of Adawa, the Emperor would lay a wreath at this statue after attending mass at St. George Cathedral (the victory had occurred on St. George's Day). Col. Mengistu continued laying a wreath here on the anniversary, but did not attend the church services as his regime was Marxist.
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 monument is shown here during a religious procession of priests of the Orthodox Church, probably at Timkat (Epiphany). Wreaths were laid here by the Emperor to commemorate the massacre every year. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam continued this practice during his rule, but for a time after the fall of the Dergue regime, only the Mayor of Addis carried out this practice. Recently, the President of the Federal Republic has taken over this task. 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.
Meyazia 27 Square (Arat Kilo):
Meyazia 27 Square is the official name of what is popularly known as Arat Kilo, a name that applies both to the square and the surrounding district of the city of Addis Ababa. The monument at the heart of the Square commemorates the victory over the fascist Italian invaders, and the struggle that preceded it (Meyazia 27 on the Ethiopian Calendar, May 5th on the Gregorian Calendar, is both the day that Addis Ababa was occupied by the Fascists, as well as the day that Emperor Haile Selassie returned to his capital in triumph exactly 5 years later). The original monument includes a relief of the Emperor Haile Selassie holding the national flag, which was altered during the reign of the Dergue regime into a representation of a guerrilla fighter holding the national flag. The EPRDF regime that deposed the Dergue restored the Emperor's face to the monument. The central obelisk, topped by a Lion of Judah, actually predates the fascist occupation, and the surrounding circle of relief figures and monumental panels was added after the war. The Arat Kilo monument stands at the heart of Addis Ababa's government district, and in front of the Ministry of Education building (not shown here). Holy Trinity Cathedral (whose dome can be seen in the background) and the Parliament building are nearby, as are the present office of the Prime Minister and the Imperial Palace. Also nearby are the Science College, the Holy Trinity Theological college, Emperor Menelik II High School and the Berhan Ena Selam Printing Press. Foreign Heads of State customarily lay a wreath at this monument during state visits. This square was the focus of Victory Day celebrations held on May 5th (Meyazia 27) every year when the Emperor would lay a wreath here following his attendance at Mass at Meskia Hazunan Medhane Alem Church (Church of the Savior of the World, Consoler of the Grieved). The Dergue regime changed the date of Victory Day to the day that General Cunningham and his British, South African and Nigerian Troops actually entered the city. The post Dergue government in Ethiopia has restored Victory Day to it's original date.
The Mercato is located in western Addis Ababa and is one of the largest markets in Africa offering an array of colors, aromas, costumes, produce and jewellery. Beware of pickpockets. In Mercato virtually every possible commodity is on sale, from Livestock to computers. Entity is the moutain range that rises to the north of Addis and is easily accessible from the city. This is where Menelik started his first capital, and the Church of Entonto Mariam where he was crowned can still be visited At the top of the hill is the Church of Entonto Raguel which offers stunning views.
Wonchi Crater Lake
An inviting taster for the western highlands and worthwhile excursion out of Addis Ababa is undoubtly the Wonchi creator lake. Formed after a massive extinct volcano which reaches an elevation of 3,386m. By contrast, surrounded as it is by steep, black cliffs and peaks that reflect in its water, is the deepest lake of the Highland lakes(75metres). It is exceptionally beautiful, with shores that give a scent of mystery with an extensive plateau covered in Afro-Alpine heather and moorland surrounds the crater lake and a few relic patches of natural forest remains in the area. The lake dotted islands and flow into the lake. On one of these islands stands the venerable monastery of Wonchi Cherkos.
There are quite a lot fishes species recorded here, almost half the number recorded for the whole country. And the islands in Lake Wonchi are also birds paradise. Besides of the rich scenic beauty, It is a best place to have a hiking and horse riding over the escarpment.
Hot springs: The small town of Welliso is referred as Ghion in reference to its hot springs, the water of which Revered locally for their medicinal properties, the hot springs have a sense of primeval mystery about hem, especially in the cooler early mornings. They are relics of the massive volcanic activity that has formed this amazing country and landscape
Guided or self-guided, exploring the Capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa on foot gives a unique insight into the spectacular history and landscape of this enchanting capital. Groups and individuals are welcome.
Debre Libanos Monastery and Jemma Valley:- The pretty Jemma valley is named for the river that formed it. A tributary of the blue Nile. The area is great interest for bird watching tourists as the most accessible place to see the Ethiopian endemic restricted to a handful of the blue nile watershed region. A road continues through high moorland offering some impressive views across rugged mountain scenery. The renowned medieval monastery of Debre Libanos, which stands at the base a magnificent 700m high canyon known as Wusha Gedel. A reliable tradition states that Debre Libanos was founded in 1284 by Abune Tekle Haimanot, the priest who was able to spread Christianity through the central region. The monastery has served as the political center of the Ethiopian church. Debre Libanos retained its political significant until as recently as the Italian occupation, when as a perceived hotbed of patriotic anti-Italian sentiment, both the monastery and its inhabitants were destroyed by the Italian troops. The Debre Libanos Mountain is also a home for the Endemic Gelada Baboon nick named as the Bleeding Heart!!