Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
At the same time, the densely primitive and stunningly modern capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, is a city that cannot be described without the word “contrasts”. On the one hand, it is the fourth largest city in Africa with a population of three million, the business and diplomatic center of the continent, with all the attributes that rely on their title: mirrored skyscrapers, Michelin-starred restaurants and prestigious nightclubs. On the other hand, this is a real mystical portal that takes the traveler to the tirelessly beating heart of the Ethiopian people – one of the oldest on the planet. The Cathedral is adjacent here to the market of supplies for magical rites, the palace of Emperor Menelik is adjacent to the monument to the Lion of Judas, and the magnificent Ethnographic Museum is adjacent to the monument to the main Russian Ethiopian, Alexander Pushkin.
The Ethnographic Museum of Addis Ababa is one of the best collections of artifacts on the African continent.
How to get to Addis Ababa
According to wholevehicles, there are no direct flights to Addis Ababa from Russian cities, you will have to fly with a transfer. The two most convenient routes are on the wings of Emirates with a transfer in Dubai and Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. Get ready to spend at least 10 hours on the road, including docking. Other options: use the services of Lufthansa with a transfer in Frankfurt, or get to one of the European capitals on the wings of national carriers, from where you can arrive in Addis Ababa on an Ethiopian Airlines flight.
From the Addis Ababa airport, the most convenient way to get to the city center is by taxi. The trip will cost 160-250 ETB, depending on the destination. Definitely a bargain!
From other cities in Ethiopia, you can get to Addis Ababa by bus or minibus. The former are cheaper and less comfortable, the latter are more expensive and claim to be comfortable. However, both those and others do not adhere to the schedule.
Transport in the city
Addis Ababa is a huge city, and when traveling on your own, you cannot do without public transport, which is represented here by minibuses, minibuses, trams and taxis.
Bazhaj minibuses are painted blue and white and scurry through the streets of the capital from early morning until dark. A short trip will cost 1.5-3 ETB, a medium trip will cost about 4 ETB, a long trip will cost about 7 ETB.
Understanding the routes is not easy at first: despite the fact that the driver relentlessly shouts out the final destination from an open window, it can be difficult to understand it out of habit. Feel free to contact the locals – they will be happy to tell you which minibus is right for you.
Addis Ababa taxis are divided into two types: blue and white “local” and yellow and green “tourist”. The former, in general, can be equated to minibuses in terms of comfort and cost (it is only slightly higher), the latter are more comfortable and reliable, a trip to them will, of course, cost more. Blue-white taxis can be hailed on the street, yellow-green ones tend to cluster near expensive hotels and tourist spots. A short taxi ride will cost around 30 ETB, an average one around 80-120 ETB, and if you need to drive from end to end of the city, get ready to pay about 150-200 ETB.
Two light metro lines – the Addis Ababa Tram – cross the capital from east to west (the “green” line) and from north to south (the “blue” line). Both will be useful for tourists: the green one connects Meskel Square and Mexico, the blue one – Menelik II Square, the market and Meskel Square. A tram ride costs 2-6 ETB (zone fare system) and tickets can be purchased from the bright orange kiosks at each stop.
The illuminated signs on the trams indicate the name of the next stop in Amharic and English, so you can’t go wrong getting off.
Shopping and stores
Two of the best places to shop for souvenirs are the Mercato Market and Churchill Avenue, which is flanked on both sides by shops of all kinds. The prices here are reasonable, but it never hurts to haggle. The Shiromeda market offers a good range of products with almost no central mercato fuss. Well, you can buy everyday goods in a supermarket with the familiar name “Friendship” (Friendship; located on the way to the airport).
Entertainment and attractions in Addis Ababa
It makes sense to dedicate at least two days to the sights of Addis Ababa – they are numerous, varied and very interesting.
First of all, we recommend going to the Ethnographic Museum – one of the best collections of artifacts on the African continent, which is also located in the grandiose building of the palace of the former emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, surrounded by lush gardens and “fluffy” fountains. First, you should pay attention to the luxurious marble staircase, on top of which sits the royal Lion of Judah – a symbol of the Ethiopian imperial power. The exhibits of the museum represent the cycle of human life – from birth (cradles, shirts, folklore characters) through growing up (traditional medicine, weapons, jewelry) to death (funeral stelae, images of ancestors, belief in the afterlife). On the second floor – the largest collection of icons in Africa (it is impossible not to pay attention to the black Christ) and an extensive collection of magical tools.
In the National Museum of Ethiopia, you can see the remains of the famous humanoid hominid Lucy, 3.2 million years old.
The Cathedral of St. George is the main temple of Ethiopia, an octagonal neoclassical building, austere on the outside, but flourishing with incredible combinations of bright colors inside. The museum at the cathedral displays items of church vestments and Christian relics.
The monument to Pushkin was erected on the square of the same name in 2002 and since then it has visibly reminded of the Ethiopian roots of “our everything”.
The collection of the National Museum of Ethiopia will guide the visitor through the long and intricate history of the country – from the emergence of mankind to the present. Its main highlights are the remains of the humanoid hominid Lucy, 3.2 million years old, the oldest on Earth, and a giant throne made of carved wood by Emperor Haile Selassie. There are also a lot of paintings from the 14th-20th centuries and a large collection of folk art.
A colorful market with the simple name “mercato” – a place where you can buy bright shirts to the heels “shamma”, fruits, silver jewelry, a monkey’s head for magical needs, spices and “tire” sandals – in a word, everything that a modern a resident of Addis Ababa.
Other interesting sights of the capital include the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, the Museum of the Victims of the Red Terror, the mausoleum of the emperors of Ethiopia and the majestic monument to the Lion of Judah.