ADDIS ABABA

first images of Addis Ababa

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Ethiopian Cities like Axum, Lalibela and Gondar are known to have been the resting place of a succession of kings several centuries ago. Addis Ababa however, was nothing more than thick forest 125 years ago. Emperor Menelik the second, picked Addis Ababa as his capital at a time where the city was sparesely inhabited and where infrastructures were none existant. Many of those who followed Menelik to the new city had to camp in tents as there was little in terms of accomodation.

first settlements in Addis Ababa

It remains unclear why Menelik chose Addis Ababa as his capital. Many Ethiopian historians however suggest that 2 factors have might have influenced his choice. The first is security. Menelik built his palace on top of Entoto Hills. While his chosen location is the highest in terms of altitude, it gives the king the advantage in terms of defense by being on the highest mountain in the city. The second is the weather. Unique to most parts of the world, Addis is a city where temperatures are never too high ( maximum 28 degrees) or never too low ( the lowest not going below 4 degrees). Perhaps it is the king's discovery of these unique attributes which lead him to name the city Addis Ababa, which litteraly means a new flower.

Addis Ababa early settlements

The visionary Menelik eventually brought in several technoligies from abroad like railways, the very first cars, built the first hotels and schools. Being distracted by a sequence of wars however, it took him years to achieve this. Addis Ababa remained a city with no well constructed roads and the settlers had to content themselves with basic modes of transportation for their daily lives.

addis ababa

The transformation of Addis Abeba from that point on however was rapid. Just decades later the city was populated by migrants from all over the country. The few tens of thousands of inhabitants reached millions in just a few dacades.

addisAddis Ababa old image

During the reign of the comminist Derg party for a period of 17 years since the early 1970s, Addis Ababa, like all parts of the country did not show any improvement in terms of infrastructures. Following the fall of the regime, changes not seen since the time of Menelik are being apparent.

Addis Abeba road constructionAddis ababa road constructionaddis ababa street complete

Currently Addis Ababa is one of the top ten cities visited in the world. Thousands of diplomats from around the world travel to Addis Ababa. The city is not just capital of Ethiopia but that of Africa: it is home to the African Union head quarters.

Very few cities in the world match Addis Ababa in terms of security. It is one of the few cities where you can stroll at night with little fear for your safety.

 

 

 

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