Ethiopia – Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia. It is the 4th highest capital city in the world.  2400 m  above sea level. Bogotá, Colombia (2600 m); Quito, Ecuador(2850m) and La Paz, Bolivia (3650 m) are higher still. It is a bustling city with more than 3 million  inhabitants.  The air is thin and you need to be careful to use sun protection, as you don’t feel burned before it is too late. It seemed to me that the air pollution is pretty bad in Addis. This combined with the high altitude make wandering around in the city harder than normal.

I don’t think that Addis is going to win an award for the most beautiful city any time. It is dirty and polluted. Garbage anywhere. People anywhere. But it has pockets of interest. I like the  Piazza area a lot. Ethiopia was never colonized but Italia occupied the country in 1939. And the Piazza still have some old world appeal. I prefer this any day compared with fast drying concrete. Italians left some beautiful buildings. Of couse by now it is run down and ill maintained but still there is a lot of charm.

I will ask anybody going there to very careful with your valuables. Not that Ethiopia is an unsafe place, but poverty can drive some to extremes.

The Tiglachin monument  (English: Our Struggle) is a memorial to Ethiopian and Cuban soldiers involved in the Ogaden War. It was built under Mengistu Haile Mariam on Churchill Avenue in Addis Ababa. (It is sometimes erroneously called the “Derg Monument”, but the monument does not honor the Derg regime.) The monument is composed of various elements: a central statue, a 50 m tall pillar, two wall reliefs on the sides and two squares where the portraits of Cuban soldiers are visible. (WIKI)

I like the fact that this was a gift from North Korea. Obvious the ties with NK is not existing no more with the exit of the DENG. But I think it is a beautiful monument and happy it exist still. Big red star on the top. What not to like?

The Addis Train station is interesting. Even though it seems there hasn’t been  a train for ages (2002) , there is a guy protecting the building against prying eye of the tourists. He has enclosed a big area in front of the building and sitting in the middle on a chair with a stick. Not to be messed with.  Even though it cannot be considered a military secret anymore, why give up your steady job?

There is a cafe on the premises. Everything is very civilized like 100 year ago. The lack of train passengers is outweigh by the passenger from the nearby Busstation.

During my stay in Ethiopia I found myself very fond of mixed Juices. It is a life saver. .

Addis is hard to like. It has some redeeming qualities. It is very in your face experience like you can find in the big cities in India but it is definitely interesting in its own right.


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