Addis Ababa & surrounds

Addis Ababa is located on a well-watered plateau surrounded by hills and mountains in the geographic centre of the country. With a population of over 3 million people (2007 census), the city is the largest in the country. There are more than 120 international missions and embassies in Addis Ababa, making the city a hub for international diplomacy in Africa.

Some highlights are:

Meskel Square – Historical Landmark, Sports Center

Part historical monument, part unofficial sports centre, Meskel Square is Addis Ababa’s most famous landmark.

Fendika Azmari Bet – Music Venue

Ethiopia’s mesmeric jazz scene is making a comeback across Addis Ababa. The genre took off in the 1960s, when pioneers such as Mulatu Astatke merged the unique tonal palette and scales of Ethiopian folk with Western jazz principles and Latin rhythms.

Merkato – Market

At the last count, more than 7,000 businesses were hawking their wares from its sprawling site in Ketema. Stalls are arranged roughly by product. Fresh fruit and vegetables; coffee beans and jebenas (Ethiopian coffee pots); aromatic spices and brimming sacks of grain; colourful shawls and knock-off clothing; and homeware and recycled goods occupy their own space.

Ethnological Museum – Museum

The museum’s largest and most important exhibit begins on the first floor. Split into three parts of the human life cycle, the displays explain the different ethnic traits, traditions and cultures of Ethiopia through Childhood, Adulthood and Death. The other major displays cover religious art and traditional musical instruments.

The Entoto Hills – Hiking Trail

Rising from the northern reaches of the city like a mighty crown, the Entoto Hills offer a little taste of Ethiopia’s spectacular Highlands. The mountain is considered sacred in the Ethiopian Orthodox faith, with various churches scattered around the peak.