Texas State to Ethiopia - The City - Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia. It is the largest city in Ethiopia, with a population of 3,384,569 according to the 2007 population census. As a chartered city, Addis Ababa has the status of both a city and a state. Addis Ababa is often referred to as "the political capital of Africa", due to its historical, diplomatic and political significance for the continent. The city is populated by people from different regions of Ethiopia – the country has as many as 80 nationalities speaking 80 languages and belonging to a wide variety of religious communities. It is home to Addis Ababa University.


See the following sites for more information:




Featured pictures

Places of interest around Addis Ababa

Entoto Museum

contains articles of great quality and historical significance. The drum that announced the march of Adwa against the Italian invasion, the bed Menelik II used while in Ankober, a crown and a Persian carpet are just a few of the many exhibits depicting Entoto’s glorious past.


Ethnographic Museum

the museum is in the old palace, Genete Le’ul, of the late Emperor Haile Selassie, a building that welcomes all visitors with dignity and grace. The museum is accommodated on two floors, comprising the bedroom of the late Emperor and ethnographic section on the lower floor and the art gallery on the upper floor.

The bedroom reminds us that the building was once a palace in the formative period of modern Ethiopia. It is the first modern palace imitating European style. We see here the bed, which Emperor Haile Selassie used for more than ten years, and some personal gifts received by the late Emperor.

The reception hall now hosts ethnographic items of more than 80 language groups. It is divided into two parts. The first introduces the general socio-economic conditions of the country and displays production tools and some techniques of craftsmen.

The second part provides a quick visit through Ethiopia. Here, assorted items from each region in the country are represented. Although the space is not large enough to show all the beauty and diversity of the culture of Ethiopia, it creates a strong urge to know more about it.

The second floor is a gallery where the ‘high art’ of the country is displayed. The exhibit concentrates on the history of sacred, and a few examples of the secular, art of Ethiopia. The time span of some items could go as far back as the 14th century

The National Museum

Exhibits of the National Museum are presented under the following four main sections:


The Zoological Natural History Museum

The Zoological Natual Museum, the only one of its kind in Ethiopia, is dedicated to house samples of the rich Ethiopian wild life. It is known that 30 species of mammals, 28 species of birds, 30 species of amphibians and 10% of fish species are endemic to Ethiopia.


Lion Zoo Park

Established in 1948, the park is located within Arada locality, close to the Martyr’s Memorial Square at Sidist Kilo. Prior to the establishment of the park, several Lions were hunted in the southern and southwestern parts of Ethiopia and presented to Emperor Haile Selassie as gifts. The Lions were kept at the Emperor’s Palace, known as Genete Le’ul, now located within the present University of Addis Ababa. The Lions were subsequently transferred to the Lion Zoo Park. Lions kept in the zoo are among the rare and endemic species in Ethiopia: Leopantels Abyssinica. The park accommodates Lions with cubs, tortoises, baboons, monkeys, apes, rabbits, ducks and some fish.


Addis Ababa Museum

The museum used to be the residence of Ras Biru Wolde Gabriel who was the Minister of War during the reign of Menelik II. It is primarily a photographic museum depicting the historical, political, economic and social progress of the city since its foundation. Unique photographs, artefacts and works of prominent artists are on display.


Ethiopian Postal Museum

This is a pictorial history of Ethiopia and its postal service since 1894. Examples of every Ethiopian stamp ever issued (as well as an extensive collection of foreign stamps) are on display, as are many examples of the original artwork and rare printer's proofs


St. George Cathedral Museum

Commissioned by Emperor Menelik commemorating his stunning 1896 defeat of the Italians in Adwa, the Piazza St George Cathedral was completed in 1911. The Holy of Holies' outer walls are covered in paintings and mosaics by renowned artists, like Afewerk Tekle. Also there is a museum which contains Ethiopia's best collection of ecclesiastical paraphernalia outside St Mary of Zion in Aksum.


Merkato- the biggest open air market in Africa

Originally the Mercato (the old Arada Gebeya) was located south of St. George Church at the City Hall area as an open market with informally employed street vendors where grain, spices, coffee, cotton, home-made garments, salt, jewelery, arms, farm implements, saddles etc. were exposed for sale. Around the time of the fascist Italian invasion in 1936 the old indigenous market was relocated to the present Addis Ketema area, Mercato. Today, Mercato is estimated to have an area of 114 hectares and in this market operate over 13,000 employees, 7,100 business entities, some 2,500 retail shops, most in open stalls, 1,500 service businesses, 80 wholesale operators: 14,800 formal businesses in total.

People arrive by regional buses, city buses, taxis, their own transport or on foot, and the numbers can rise to more than 200,000 in a single day. As the largest open-air market in Africa, Mercato is a vibrant, fascinating attraction for tourists and visitors. It is said that no visit is complete in Addis Ababa without making a trip to Mercato. The market fascinates tourists with its endless array of goods on display in the 50 trading sections or ‘Teras’. On Saturdays, the busiest day, the vast city market provides a snapshot of Ethiopia: Amhara farmers rub shoulders with Gurage businessmen; Tigrayan women from the north with their distinctive braided hair stand alongside Dorze traditional weavers from the south; Somali traders from the east bring in their electronic goods, and pastrolist nomads display their livestock. Operating six days a week (it is closed on Sundays), there is seemingly little logic to Mercato, whose small shops, stalls and market halls spin off chaotically into labyrinthine alleyways. But after a while the disorder does make some sort of sense. The market’s winding lanes are arranged according to the various products so that you’ll find mounds of colorful plastic goods grouped together, blaring music will lead you to the electronics section, while the pungent aroma of deep red berbere (chilli pepper) draws you to a heady display of spices. Across the way, the market hall housing multitudinous traditional crafts, silver jewelery and woven cloth is a magnet for tourists.

Flecks of floating grain indicate that the vast cereal and vegetable section is nearby. Exotic arrays of coffee beans, the country’s biggest export, tantalise the senses as merchants offer tiny cups of powerful Ethiopian buna (coffee) or delicately spiced shai (tea). In the “recycling” area, old tyres are turned into sandals, tin cans are hammered into trinkets and rusty old metal transformed into gleaming buckets and bowls. Everywhere, children scamper around carrying goats, urging on stubborn donkeys, offering to shine shoes or selling mastica (gum). It takes several visits to work it all out so it’s not a bad idea to have a trusty guide, preferably arranged beforehand.

Mercato is an appropriate area in which to expose the handicrafts and artworks of all Ethiopian people. One area in Mercato specializes in arts and crafts and other objects assembled as tourist attractions. In Mercato are located around 60 souvenir shops. In these shops can be found:

Here, tourists will find examples from all over the country, and as tradition says: “one can bargain here, even for a new soul!”
The Mercato experience isn’t just about shopping, however. It also provides a fascinating insight into aspects of daily life in Addis. The district, known as Addis Ketema (New Town), is one of the most diverse and densely populated parts of the city.


Ras Theatre

Ras theater was constructed in 1929 E.C. nd was started in 1930 E.c. by the name of Ras Hailu T/Haimanot who was formerly a patriot. It was mostly used by the Italians during their occupation of Ethiopia. After the Italians are sent from the whole country in 1933. The cinema hall was presenting different types of movies until 1948. But after this time it was serving as for different purposes till it starts back being a cinema hall. Since 1968 having a name as a '' Ras Theater'' it became under the government, and started its artistic workers by presenting stage plays. Traditional or cultural music and dance. The Ras theater has contributed a lot of many famous singers and musicians in traditional and modern music sector. Currently Ras theater had theater group (which presents radio and T.V. stage pliers, traditional music and dance group, modern music and dance group film departments which presents local and foreign films. And administrative and supporting departments., all those are actively performing.


Children and Youth Theater

Children and youth Theater is established in the year 1989. The theater is exerting its maximum efforts in creating a morally strong and hard working generations that would play major role in the overall development of the country by using the arts.

Different works of art like stage children drama, puppet shows, Songs, Dances and other musical works that are appropriate to the psychology and cognition capacity of children and youth are produced with maximum care and are presented twice a week (every week and) permanently it also performs whenever there is a performs by celebrating with schools. NGOS. Governmental institutions. Children village e.t.c. throughout the country.


Hager Fikir Theater

Hager fikir Theater in Addis Ababa is not only the theater with the greatest tradition in town but also the oldest indigenous theater in Africa It stands for more than 74 Years of cultural life in Addis Ababa. It is a legendary play house where modern Ethiopian music and drama were born and nurtured. Many stars like Aster Aweke , Tilahun Gesesse and Frewu Hailu began their careers on the stage of Hager Fikir Theatre . Both traditional Ethiopian plays and translations of European playwrights by william shakespeare, Friedrich Schiller, Henrik Ibsen and Moliere have been produced at Hager Fikir Theatre in the last decades. Hager Fikir Theater was founded in 1935, when people of Addis Ababa founded ''Hager Fikir Maheber'' (Association for the love of the Motherland) to stand against the upcoming Italian invasion. The founders wanted to mobilise the Ethiopian people and galvanize their patriotic motive. The first Theater production presented at(open air) menlik square. From that on Hager Fikir Theater survived. However there were few uncritical and fascist-friendly plays brought on stage during the period of occupation.

After the withdrawal of the Italian troops in 1942 the theatre-crew moved from Menelik square to the place where it is located nowadays in the piazza-District. An ancient Italian nightclub was reconstructed as a theater hall. At the 25 th anniversary of Haile selassie's emperorship in 1955 the main entrance of the hall was enlarged and an imperial balcony and lounge was built. During the rule of Haile Selassie the Hager Fikir Theater grew, although the Emperor established the Haile-Selassie- Theatre (today the National Theater) as an additional theater in Addis Ababa. The Hager Fikir Theater continued as a Popular theater for the common people of the city whereas the Haile-Selassie-Theatre was mainly visited by high class society.

Besides regular performances the Hager Fikir Theater also provided radio shows on Ethiopian radio which were broadcast live from the studio and Theater. Moreover the troop went on tour regularly, so that people from rural Ethiopia also could have access to the productions of Hager Fikir.

After Haile selassie and during the Derg-Regime the Hager Fikir Theater continued to produce socialistic plays and performances. Musicians and actors were mostly controlled and the work of the directors was censured by the government. In 1975 the them director Tesfaye Gesesse was arrested for his play 'Iqaw' ('The Thing') . It was said to be anti- Derg and anti-revolutionary. After the downfall of the Der-Regime in 1991, the Hager Fikir Theater continued its work. Nowadays, more than 120 people work for the theater, among these are around 80 actors, singers and dancers. Theater performances are on schedule most of the days. Movies are performed on weekend and musical shows are on stage on public holidays.

Photo credits



Last two pictures from personal collection

Related Pages

Course Informat...
Program Feature...
Program Partici...
Accomodations -...
The City - Addis Ababa
Academic Excurs...
Travel Info

3/29/2017 11:39:59 PM