” Addis Ababa simply means “New Flower”, two words that Emperor Menelik II used to name the town, which he found in 1886.”
Addis Ababa (simply known as Addis) is the capital city of Ethiopia. With a population of 3,384,569, 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 concerning Africa.
It was founded over one hundred years ago, the capital is a multifaceted city that towers 2,400 meters above sea level on the Abyssinian plateau. It is, a city whose streets are paved with gold; for a foreign visitor, the gateway of Addis Ababa is on the verge of an ancient and mystical world.
There is not a cloud in the sky for about eight months out of a year, and the warm sun beats down on culturally-stimulating museums, fashionable boulevards, world-class restaurants and hip clubs. The city has many surprises up its sleeve, ready to impress even the most well-traveled visitors.
History of Addis Ababa
The history of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, formally begins with the founding of the city in the 19th century by Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II and his wife Empress Taytu Betul. Before the advent of Addis Ababa, there were many sites in the surrounding areas that had been used as temporary capitals for the Kingdom of Shewa.
Menelik, as Negus of Shewa, had found Mount Entoto a useful base for military operations in the south of his realm. In 1879, Menelik visited the reputed ruins of a medieval town and an unfinished rock church that showed proof of an Ethiopian presence. His interest in the area grew when his wife Taytu began work on a church on Entoto.
Negus Menelik expanded his wife’s house to become the Imperial Palace, which remains the seat of government in Addis Ababa today. Between 1889 and 1891, Addis Ababa became Ethiopia’s capital when Menelik II became Emperor of Ethiopia. One of Emperor Menelik’s contributions that are still visible today is the planting of numerous eucalyptus trees along the city streets.
After becoming the capital of Ethiopia, It grew by leaps and bounds and took on the character of a boomtown. By 1910, the city had approximately 70,000 permanent inhabitants and also had between 30,000 and 50,000 temporary inhabitants. Addis Ababa became the site of many of Ethiopia’s innovations.
The rapid growth of the city, especially soon after the Battle of Adwa, was accompanied by the construction of some of Ethiopia’s first modern bridges. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa also has its headquarters in Addis Ababa. It was also the site of the Council of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in 1965.
Top Destinations of Addis Ababa
- Bete Maryam Mausoleum
- Ethnological Museum
- Holy Trinity Cathedral
- Lion of Judah Monument
- National Museum
- St George Cathedral & Museum
- Washa Mikael Church