Addis Ababa
                       
   

Addis Ababa, the Capital of modern Ethiopia, and gateway for most tourists, is the political and commercial heart of the Country. Now a city of 78 million people, it was founded by Emperor Menelik in 1887. Addis Ababa is the country's commercial, manufacturing, and cultural center. It is the focus of a highway network, the site of an international airport, and the terminus of a railroad to the Gulf of Aden port of Djibouti. In the city there are printing industries, and manufactures include footwear, clothing, asbestos and metal products, processed foods, cement, and plywood. Flourishing handicraft industries produce leather, metal, and textile goods, which are traded along with the regional agricultural produce, such as coffee, tobacco, and dairy items, in the vast open-air market known as the Mercato, on the west side of the city.

Addis Ababa is a sprawling city, well wooded, especially with eucalyptus trees, and crossed by broad avenues. Modern, multistoried buildings sit side by side with traditional one- and two story structures and open spaces. Its high elevation gives the city a mild, pleasant climate. The city is the seat of Addis Ababa University (1950), schools of music and art, and several research institutes. As headquarters of the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the city is the scene of many international conferences. Of note in the city are the octagon-shaped Saint George Coptic Christian Cathedral (1896), the modern Africa Hall with its dramatic stained-glass windows, and the Menelik II Palace, as well as several museums with collections of art, ethnology, and archaeology.

History

The site of Addis Ababa was chosen by Empress Taytu Betul and the city was founded in 1886 by her husband, Emperor Menelik II. The name of the city (ኣዲስ ኣበባ) was taken from parts of the city called hora Finfinnee ("hot springs") in Oromo. Another Oromo name of the city is Sheger. Menelik, as initially a King of the Shewaprovince, had found Mount Entoto a useful base for military operations in the south of his realm, and in 1879 visited the reputed ruins of a medieval town, and an unfinished rock church that showed proof of an Ethiopian presence in the area prior to the campaigns of Ahmad Gragn. His interest in the area grew when his wife Taytu began work on a church on Entoto, and Menelik endowed a second church in the area.

However the immediate area did not encourage the founding of a town due to the lack of firewood and water, so settlement actually began in the valley south of the mountain in 1886. Initially, Taytu built a house for herself near the "Filwoha" hotmineral springs, where she and members of the Showan Royal Court liked to take mineral baths. Other nobility and their staffs and households settled the vicinity, and Menelik expanded his wife's house to become the Imperial Palace which remains the seat of government in Addis Ababa today. The name changed to Addis Ababa and became Ethiopia's capital when Menelik II became Emperor of Ethiopia. The town grew by leaps and bounds. One of Emperor Menelik's contributions that is still visible today is the planting of numerous eucalyptus trees along the city streets.[4]
On 5 May 1936, Italian troops invaded Addis Ababa during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, making it the capital ofItalian East Africa from 1936 to 1941 after killing about a million Ethiopians with mustard gas[citation needed]. After the Italian army in Ethiopia was defeated by the British forces during the East African Campaign, Emperor Haile Selassie returned to Addis Ababa on 5 May 1941—five years to the very day after he had departed—and immediately began the work of re-establishing his capital.
Emperor Haile Selassie helped form the Organization of African Unity in 1963, and invited the new organization to keep its headquarters in the city. The OAU was dissolved in 2002 and replaced by the African Union (AU), also headquartered in Addis Ababa. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa also has its headquarters in Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa was also the site of the Council of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in 1965.
Ethiopia has often been called the original home of humankind due to various humanoid fossil discoveries like the Australopithecine Lucy.[5] North eastern Africa, and theAfar region in particular was the central focus of these claims until recent DNA evidence suggested origins in south central Ethiopian regions like present-day Addis Ababa.[6][7] After analysing the DNA of almost 1,000 people around the world, geneticists and other scientists claimed humans spread from what is now Addis Ababa 100,000 years ago.[8][9] The research indicated that genetic diversity declines steadily the farther one's ancestors traveled from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Addis Ababa is the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union. The fossilized skeleton, and a plaster replica of the early hominid Lucy (known in Ethiopia as Dinkinesh) is preserved at the Ethiopian National Museum in Addis Ababa. Meskel Square is one of the noted squares in the city and is the site for the annual Meskel festival at the end of September annually when thousands gather in celebration.The city is home to the Ethiopian National Library, the Ethiopian Ethnological Museum (and former palace), the Addis Ababa Museum, the Ethiopian Natural History Museum, the Ethiopian Railway Museum and the National Postal Museum.Notable buildings include St George's Cathedral (founded in 1896 and also home to a museum), Holy Trinity Cathedral (once the largest Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral and the location of Sylvia Pankhurst's tomb) as well as the burial place of Emperor Haile Selassie and the Imperial family, and those who fought the Italians during the war. There is also Menelik's old Imperial palace which remains the official seat of government, and the National Palace formerly known as the Jubilee Palace (built to mark Emperor Haile Selassie's Silver Jubilee in 1955) which is the residence of the President of Ethiopia

 
         
     
 
 
 
 
   
 
   
 
   
     
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