Addis Abeba History

The establishment of Addis Abeba first came about when Emperor Menelik II moved his army encampment to the undulating hills of the Entoto Mountains in the late 19th century, some 127 years ago. The area was easy to defend and offered easy access to the rest of the country. The camp was initially wholly composed […]

Climate and Location

Situated in the heart of Ethiopia at an altitude ranging between 2500 meters above sea level at its lowest and southernmost point and 3000 meters above sea level at its northern and highest point at Entoto, Addis Abeba is the third highest city in the world after La Paz and Quito in Latin America. The […]

Sporting and Entertainment

If you want to keep in shape during your vacation in Addis, the city offers several world class gyms, swimming pools and hiking or biking trails. The best gyms are usually found at hotels although there are also several purely gym and spa establishments that are equally well-equipped such as the most famous MAXVIEW FITNESS […]

Forex, ATMs and Communications

Exchanging or drawing money from a credit card or ATM has never been easier in Addis. All major buildings house banks which change most foreign currencies to the Ethiopian Birr. One USD is being sold for around 20 Birr at the time of writing this guide although rates might vary daily. ATMs can also be […]

Old City Center

La Gar (the endpoint of the railroad to Djibouti) – the former railway station which was the center of import/export commerce for decades ever since its completion in 1929 remains a busy urban center to this day. It currently serves as a pseudomuseum where guided tours can be arranged to see some of the old […]

National Theatre

Has been a center for the Ethiopian arts and culture scene for several decades and remains a stronghold of the arts, especially theatrical performances, to this day. The theatre is easily recognized by the near 10 meter tall statue of the Lion of Judah that stands right outside of the premises. The black stone carved […]

National Library and Archives

Known as “Womezekir” locally, the National Library is a popular retreat for avid readers and is ideal for finding a wealth of written works on Ethiopia, the horn and all of Africa.

Souvenir shops on Churchill Avenue

Across the street from Black Lion Hospital, you can find dozens of shops lining the road selling various traditional handcraft pieces, jewelry and figurines. Some rare collectors’ items (e.g. ornate crosses) might require a special permit from the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage in order to pass through customs. You can easily […]

St. George Art Gallery

widely recognized as one of the show pieces of Addis Abeba, this showroom and gallery is refreshing to behold and is conveniently located behind the Sheraton Addis. (for more see Arts & Crafts in the Shopping Section of this book)

The Mausoleum of Emperor Menelik II (Bahta Mariam Church)

Bahta Mariam Church, the final resting place of Emperor Menelik II, is located just up the hill from the Hilton hotel behind the Grand Palace. Security is tight so you might have to park your car (and your camera) a bit farther down the road but the beauty and grandeur of the stone structure which […]

Holy Trinity Church (Kidus Selassie)

built in 1941 to commemorate the liberation of Ethiopia from occupying Italian forces, the Holy Trinity Church is one of the most attractive sights in Addis. Adorned with figures of angels and gargoyles, the exterior of the church is very much reminiscent of gothic European style of building. The southern end of the cathedral is […]

Addis Abeba Museum

Established in October 1986 on the centenary of the foundation of Addis Abeba, the Addis Abeba Museum is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Addis which sits right next to Mesqel Square. The architecture of the building itself is a relic in its own right and all the exhibits inside, including impressive photos […]

Central Market – Mercato

To the left of Churchill Avenue as you make your way up, occupying almost the entire north-western part of the city, lies the largest open market in Africa, Mercato. Dominated by the high-rising minarets of the grand Anwar Mosque, the largest in the city, Mercato has long been the heart of Ethiopian commerce. If you […]

National Museum

the national museum is located in the premises of the old house of Prince Mekonen, son of Emperor Haile Sellasie I about half way between Arat Kilo and Sidist Kilo. The centerpiece of the impressive collection of the museum is undoubtedly the 3.2 million year old australopithecine fossil Lucy (locally dubbed Dinkinesh meaning “you are amazing” […]

Ethnological Museum

Set within the former palace of Emperor Haile Selassie now serves as the main Administration center for Addis Abeba University the area commonly called as Sidist Kilo, the Ethnological (sometimes called the Ethnographic) Museum is part of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies. Many have described the museum as one of the best in Africa since […]