When it comes to large African cities, we typically adhere to the "get in and get the hell out" rule. We have visited and written up articles about dozens of those cities and it is fair to say that often they are most definitely not the main reason for people to travel to this beautiful continent. Addis Ababa may just be a bit different, though.
Addis Ababa is the fascinating capital of Ethiopia, located in the Ethiopian highlands. The country's largest city with a population of nearly 3.5 million and home base of the African Union, Addis is quite a prominent city on the continent. It also has its non-diplomatic visitors much to offer, with sights ranging from cathedrals to palaces and museums, putting one of the world's oldest civilisations on display.
All of that comes in your typical chaotic African package, which is unavoidable, and on top of that the city can at times feel like a large construction site. Yet it is the energetic vibe of a growing metropolis coupled with the occasional displays of historic grandeur that you find throughout the city, such as the palaces and St. George's or Medhane Alem Cathedrals (the second largest in all of Africa), that makes it all a very tolerable and indeed interesting mix for tourists.
Two museums that you must check out include the Ethiopian Ethnological Museum and the Ethiopian National Museum. The former is housed in the former palace of Haile Selassie and focuses on Ethiopia's history and cutural heritage, being home to the Lucy Mummy, while the latter is strong on domestic arts and crafts (antique and modern!).
Once you have seen the obligatory cultural sights, you can end up spending hours doing shopping the Mercato (supposedly the largest open air market of the continent), the smaller Shola or places like the Edna Mall. At the end of the day you're pretty sure to find a good (jazz) club to get a drink in, and of course make sure to venture out of your hotel to try some of that delicious Injera - Ethiopia's national dish. Finally, great views over the city can be had from Entoto Hill.
So in short, while Addis flies under the radar and for many is a get-in-and-get-out kind of place, we fully recommend spending some time here. Best of all, Addis is known as a relatively safe city to visit. [Review by travelindicator]
- Addis Ababa is a city in Ethiopia's region of Addis Abeba. It has a population of 3,384,569, is situated at an altitude of 7526ft and the best airport to fly into is ADD (Bole International, Addis Ababa)
- The currency used in Ethiopia is the Ethipian birr (ETB)
Addis Ababa Weather
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More Addis Ababa travel resources
At Fodor's you find 5 reasons to convince you to visit Addis, while Migrationology has a longer list of eleven. The Wandering Trader writes a paragraph or two about the city, as does Wikitravel. And to finish, the Radisson Blu hotel has a surprisingly useful list of sights to check out too.
Addis Ababa Attractions (Foursquare)
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Browse: Nearest Destinations (209mi-821mi)
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