Addis Ababa: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Addis Ababa

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Addis Ababa
አዲስ አበባ
Clockwise from left top: City Hall, Lion of Judah statue in Legehar, Tiglachin Monument, Terminus of the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway, Meskel Square, Meyazia 27 Square, St. George's Cathedral
Center:Yekatit 12 Square
Nickname(s): City of Humans, Adisava, Addika, Finfinne
Addis Ababa is located in Ethiopia
Addis Ababa
Location in Ethiopia
Coordinates: 9°1′48″N 38°44′24″E / 9.03°N 38.74°E / 9.03; 38.74
Country  Ethiopia
Chartered City Addis Ababa
 - Mayor Kuma Demeksa
 - City 530.14 km2 (204.7 sq mi)
 - Land 530.14 km2 (204.7 sq mi)
Elevation 2,355 m (7,726 ft)
Population (2008)
 - City 3,384,569
 - Density 5,165.1/km2 (13,377.5/sq mi)
 - Urban 3,384,569
 - Metro 4,567,857
Time zone East Africa Time (UTC+3)

Addis Ababa (sometimes spelled Addis Abeba, the spelling used by the official Ethiopian Mapping Authority) is the capital city of Ethiopia. (In Ethiopian languages: Amharic, Adis Abäba "new flower," Oromo, Finfinne, IPA: [adːiːs aβəβa]; Ge'ez ኣዲስ ኣበባ) It is the largest city in Ethiopia, with a population of 3,384,569 according to the 2008 population census.[1]

As a chartered city (ras gez astedader), Addis Ababa has the status of both a city and a state. It is where the African Union and its predecessor the OAU are based. Addis Ababa is therefore often referred to as "the capital of Africa", due to its historical, diplomatic and political significance for the continent. The city is populated by people from different regions of Ethiopia – the country has as many as 80 nationalities speaking 80 languages and belonging to a wide variety of religious communities. It is home to Addis Ababa University.

Addis Ababa lies at an altitude of 7,546 feet (2,300 metres) and is a grassland biome, located at 9°1′48″N 38°44′24″E / 9.03°N 38.74°E / 9.03; 38.74Coordinates: 9°1′48″N 38°44′24″E / 9.03°N 38.74°E / 9.03; 38.74.[2] The city lies at the foot of Mount Entoto. From its lowest point, around Bole International Airport, at 2,326 metres (7,630 ft) above sea level in the southern periphery, the city rises to over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) in the Entoto Mountains to the north.



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 Shewa province, 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.

Arat Kilo Monument

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" hot mineral 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.

On 5 May 1936, Italian troops occupied Addis Ababa during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, making it the capital of Italian East Africa from 1936 to 1941 after killing about a million Ethiopians with mustard gas. After the Italian army in Ethiopia was defeated by the British army and the Ethiopian patriot 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.[3] North eastern Africa, and the Afar 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 (Finfinee).[4][5] 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.[6][7] The research indicated that genetic diversity declines steadily the farther one's ancestors traveled from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.[8][9]


Based on the preliminary 2007 census results, Addis Ababa has a total population of 2,738,248, consisting of 1,304,518 men and 1,433,730 women.[1] The city is fully urban, with no rural dwellers within the city's administrative boundaries. Addis Ababa contains 22.9% of all urban dwellers in Ethiopia.[1] With an estimated area of 530.14 square kilometers (204.69 sq mi), this chartered city has an estimated density of 5,165.1 inhabitants per square kilometre (13,378 /sq mi).

In the 1994 census, the population of Addis Ababa was reported to be 2.3 million of which 28,149 lived in the rural parts of the city. 51.6% were female, while 48.4% were male.

All the Ethiopian ethnic groups are represented in Addis Ababa due to its position as capital of the country. This ethnic blend gives the city a diversity of culture making the capital even more attractive. The major ethnic groups and the smaller ones live side by side with no recorded interethnic tensions.

74.7% of the population are Oriental Orthodox Christians, 16.2% Muslim, 7.8% Protestants, 0.5% Catholics, while the remaining 0.8% are followers of other faiths (e.g. Hindus, Jews, Bahá'ís, agnostics, etc.).[1]


Addis Ababa under the Koppen climate classification has a Subtropical highland climate. The city possesses a complex mix of highland climate zones, with temperature differences of up to 10 °C, depending on elevation and prevailing wind patterns. The high elevation moderates temperatures year-round, and the city's position near the equator means that temperatures are very constant from month to month.

Weather data for Addis Ababa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 28
Average high °C (°F) 24
Average low °C (°F) 6
Record low °C (°F) 2
Precipitation mm (inches) 13
Source: BBC Weather [10] 2009-09-09


Addis Ababa seen from SPOT satellite
The bustling centre of Addis Ababa
Street scene of taxis on Bole Road in Addis Abeba

The economic activities in Addis Ababa are diverse. According to official statistics from the federal government, some 119,197 people in the city are engaged in trade and commerce; 113,977 in manufacturing and industry; 80,391 homemakers of different variety; 71,186 in civil administration; 50,538 in transport and communication; 42,514 in education, health and social services; 32,685 in hotel and catering services; and 16,602 in agriculture. In addition to the residents of rural parts of Addis Ababa, the city dwellers also participate in animal husbandry and cultivation of gardens. Currently 677 hectares of land is irrigated annually, on which 129,880 quintals of vegetables are cultivated.[11]

Many poor Ethiopians from the rural areas come to Addis Ababa as beggars and fill some of the streets. Recently, the number of beggars declined after a government and NGO attempt to move some of them and provide education and jobs. It is a relatively clean and safe city, with the most common crimes being pick pocketing, scams and minor burglary.[12] The city has recently been in a construction boom with tall buildings rising in many places. Also, various luxury services have become available and the construction of shopping malls has recently increased. Some people have labeled the city, "the spa capital of Africa."[13]


Arkebe Oqubay was a Mayor of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He held office from early 2003 to May 2005. On March 31, 2005, Arkebe Oqubay was named "African Mayor of 2005" by Broadcasting Network of Africa. Mayor Oqubay lost the mayorship of Addis Ababa in May 2005 to Berhanu Nega, but after boycotting the parliament Berhanu Nega's C.U.D. or Kinijit party did not take control of the city government. The leaders of the CUD, his opposition party which swept the election in the capital, were later imprisoned and not permitted to assume control of the city. They were pardoned and released after two years in prison.

Though most of the CUD refused to join the parliament, factions of CUD and all the rest of opposition parties joined parliament in 2005. The government has appointed a provisional city government with Berhanu Deresa the acting Mayor.


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.

Headquarters of the Ethiopian Federal Police

The Hager Fikir Theatre, the oldest theatre in Ethiopia, is located at the Piazza district. Africa Hall is located across Menelik II avenue from this Palace and is where the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa is headquartered as well as most UN offices in Ethiopia. It is also the site of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which eventually became the African Union.

Near Holy Trinity Cathedral is the Parliament building, built during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, with its clock tower. It continues to serve as the seat of Parliament today. Across from the Parliament is the Shengo Hall, built by the Derg regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam as its new parliament hall. The Shengo Hall was the world's largest pre-fabricated building, which was constructed in Finland before being assembled in Addis Ababa. It is used for large meetings and conventions.

Ethiopian Radio and Television station

In the Merkato district, which happens to be the largest open market in Africa, is the impressive Anwar Mosque, the biggest mosque in Ethiopia. Few meters to the southwest of the Anwar Mosque is the Raguel Church. The Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family is also in the Merkato district. Near Bole International Airport is the new Medhane Alem (Savior of the World) Cathedral, which is the second largest in Africa.

Hager Fikir Theatre Addis Ababa (April 2006)

Other features of the city include the large Merkato market, the Jan Meda Race Ground racecourse, Bihere Tsige Recreation Centre and a railway line to Djibouti. Sport facilities include Addis Ababa and Nyala Stadiums. The 2008 African Championships in Athletics were held in Addis Ababa. The Entoto Mountains start among the northern suburbs. Suburbs of the city include Shiro Meda and Entoto in the north, Urael and Bole (home to Bole International Airport) in the east, Nifas Silk in the south-east, Mekanisa in the south, and Keraniyo and Kolfe in the west.

The city hosts the We Are the Future center, a child care center that provides children with a higher standard of living. The center is managed under the direction of the mayor’s office, and the international NGO Glocal Forum serves as the fundraiser and program planner and coordinator for the WAF child center in each city. Each WAF city is linked to several peer cities and public and private partners to create a unique international coalition. Launched in 2004, the program is the result of a strategic partnership between the Glocal Forum, the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation and Mr. Hani Masri, with the support of the World Bank, UN agencies and major companies.


Addis Ababa University was founded in 1950 and was originally named "University College of Addis Ababa", then renamed in 1962 for the former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I who had donated his Genete Leul Palace to be the University main campus in the previous year. It received its current name in 1975. Although the university has six of its seven campuses within Addis Ababa (the seventh is located in Debre Zeit, about 45 km/28 mi away), it also maintains branches in many cities throughout Ethiopia. It is the home of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies and the Ethnological Museum. The city also has numerous private colleges including Admas College, Ethiopian Civil Service College and Unity University.


The distinctive Addis Ababa blue taxis

Public transportation is through public buses from Anbessa City Bus Service Enterprise or blue and white share taxis. The taxis are usually minibuses that can seat at least twelve people. Two people are responsible for each taxi, the driver and a weyala who collects fares and calls out the taxi's destination.

The city is served by Bole International Airport, where a new terminal opened in 2003. The old Lideta Airport in the western "Old Airport" district is used mostly by small craft and military planes and helicopters. Addis Ababa also has a railway connection with Djibouti City, with a picturesque French style railway station...

Intercity bus service is provided by the Selam Bus Line Share Company.


A street in Addis Ababa, with the city skyline in the background  
View from the Sheraton Hotel  
Addis Ababa cityscape, and the Sheraton Hotel  
View of Downtown Addis Ababa  
Churchill Road  
High rise buildings overlooking a monument  
Ethiopian Electric power corporation  
Ethiopian commercial bank  
Abune Petros Square  
Aerial view of Addis Ababa  
Taytu hotel  
Addis Ababa Stadium  

Sister cities

Notable people

See also



External links



General information

Photos and Travel Guides

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Africa : East Africa : Ethiopia : Oromia : Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia.

Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa


With 4,5 million people, the city is located in the geographic center of the country. Many of the wealthiest people live in the Southeast (Bole), Southwest (old airport), Semis, Ayat and Lamberet parts of town. There are more than 120 international missions and embassies in Addis Ababa, making the city a hub for international diplomacy concerning Africa. The headquarters of the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa can both be found in the city. The United States and the European Union both have two delegations in Addis Ababa, one for bilateral relations with Ethiopia and one for the African Union.


Temperatures in Addis Ababa are remarkably constant from month to month due to its proximity to the equator. The average highs are between 63°F(17°C) and 71°F(22°C). The average lows are between 51°F(11°C) and 58°F(14°C). The warmest months being Feb through May. Temperatures and climate can vary due to elevation. Due to altitude there is a huge day to night range of temperature: it is often 27C at lunchtime and 3C at night: In the Addis evenings always take a second layer with you.

Get in

By plane

Bole International Airport (IATA: ADD), the busiest airport in East Africa and the hub of Ethiopian Airlines, is serviced by several international airlines with daily flights to Europe, United States, and Asia as well as inter-African destinations including Accra, Bamako, Brazzaville, Cairo, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Khartoum, Harare, Johannesburg, Nairobi and many more cities in Africa.

There are two terminals, but as of 2009 the domestic terminal is being refurbished and all flights use the same one. No departure tax is charged.

  • Arrive via Djibouti. Over 700km trip that takes approximately 24 hour trip from point to point, stopping about halfway in Dire Dawa. Reservations are strongly recommended.
  • Some of the roads are in poor condition, so keep this in mind when estimating time between destinations, but most of the roads are in good condition.

Routes through Addis Ababa

The worst is the heavily potholed northeast road to Debre Birhan.

  • Bus terminals:
    • Autobus Terra near Mercato. This is the main bus terminal where most of the national buses arrive and depart.
    • Ras Mekonin Avenue near the railway station. Buses to/from Adama (Nazret), Debre Zeyit, Dire Dawa, Nairobi, Lalibela, Shahemene, Awasa and Bahir Dar are here.

Sample Minibus prices

  • Short trips within one area 2 ETB
  • Another Short trips 2,5 ETB
  • Medium trips 4 ETB
  • Large trips 5,5 ETB
  • Very Large trips 8 ETB

Sample Taxi prices

  • Short trips within one area 12 ETB
  • Another Short trips 15 ETB
  • Medium trips 25 ETB
  • Large trips 30 ETB
  • Very Large trips 40 ETB
  • Very few streets have names and when they do, they may not be named correctly on a map; use landmarks to navigate the city.
  • Blue and white minibuses travel quite efficiently around the town. To catch a minibus stand on the side of the road and hail it. This can be done anywhere it is possible for the bus to stop. The conductor inside will call out the destination, and you get on. You pay the conductor after you get on. To get out say "woraj alle" It is worth having an Ethiopian guide with you if it is your first time using these taxis.
  • Small blue coloured Lada taxis are more expensive. Negotiation is the norm and you often have to press quite hard to get a bargain as a foreigner. They can be contracted for a single trip,an hour, or a full day, just negotiate.
  • Walking in Addis Ababa is a pleasant and sensible way of getting around, however beggars and other hangers-on will most likely bother you.


Walking along the street starting from Meskel Sq. to Sidest Kilo is very comfortable and entertaining. It will give you the chance to see the Africa Hall, the palaces and the Parliament building, the Hilton Hotel, the marvelous architectural adventure of a building hosting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Sheraton Hotel, the first modern school (which Menelik the II built in the 1880s), the Trinity Orthodox cathedral, the National Museum, and the Addis Ababa University (which also hosts a former palace and museum). Arat Kilo Avenue is marked by a statue built in commemoration of the Ethiopian V-day during the Second World War, while Sidest Kilo Avenue is marked by a statue commemorating the ~39,000 residents of Addis Ababa killed by Italian fascist troops. Around Arat Kilo, you will find part of an old town known as Serategna Sefer (literally, the residential area of laborers). If you want to proceed past Sidest Kilo, the road becomes steeper and much of the attractions will be on the right side of the road. The Entoto college (previously Teferi Mekonnen School) and the American Embassy are found on this side of the street. After the American Embassy there is an open market called Shiro Meda where traditional craftsmen sell their home made fabrics, pots and other crafts. The market place is at the foot of the Entoto Mountains that rises up to 3,300m above sea level. You can take a taxi or a bus to the mountain unless you are of a mind to try it yourself. On the mountain, you will find the first churches of Addis Ababa called St. Mary and St. Raguel as well as smaller palace of Menelik the II. Walking on the mountain, especially between the churches is refreshing and gives you the chance to see rural life, the city itself, forest and unbelievably beautiful landscape intersected by farmlands and trails of farmers. It is from here that Menelik II and Queen Taitu conceived of the establishment Addis Ababa. You can get a sense of the city plan yourself by looking from here at the current city.

  • Ethiopian National Museum, (Between Arat Kilo Avenue and the University of Addis Ababa Graduate School). Although the museum is unknown to most, the Ethiopian National Museum is a world-class museum; truly a hidden gem! The most famous exhibit is the replica of Lucy, an early hominid, but the museum offers much more. With Ethiopian civilization being one of the oldest in the world, the artifacts within the museum span thousands of years, including some from its earliest days. A wide variety of artifacts are featured, from sculptures to clothing to artwork. Both traditional and modern art are featured.  edit
  • Africa Hall, (located across Menelik II Avenue from the Palace). This is where the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa is headquartered as well as most UN offices in Ethiopia. It is also the site of the founding of the Organization for African Unity (OAU) which eventually became the African Union.  edit
  • Parliament Building, (Near Holy Trinity Cathedral). Built during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, with its clock tower, it continues to serve as the seat of Parliament today.  edit
  • Shengo Hall. Built by the Derg regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam as its new parliament hall. The Shengo Hall was the world's largest pre-fabricated building, which was constructed in Finland before being assembled in Addis Ababa. It is used for large meetings and conventions.  edit
  • Medhane Alem, (Near Bole International Airport). This cathedral, whose name means "Savior of the World" (Savior of the World) is the second largest church on the continent.  edit
  • St George's Cathedral, (North end of Churchill Road). Open 8am - 9am, Noon - 2pm. Built in 1896 to commemorate Ethiopia's victory over the Italians. The cathedral is a circular building that does not look very impressive when you approach it. As you walk around the building, you will notice people praying besides the walls, but it is unlikely that you will find an entrance. The Cathedral houses a small museum and close to it you will likely meet one of the archdeacons of the Cathedral. If he offers to be a guide, take his offer and visit the Cathedral with him. The interior is beautifully decorated with huge paintings and mosaics, and will make the trip worthwhile. It is worth visiting the museum with a guide as well to see ceremonial clothes and ancient manuscripts.  edit
  • Anwar Mosque. In the Merkato district, which happens to be the largest market in Africa. It's quite impressive.  edit
  • Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family. In the Merkato district  edit
  • Menelik's old Imperial Palace. It remains the official seat of government.  edit
  • 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.  edit
  • Ethiopian National Library.  edit
  • Ethiopian Ethnological Museum. A fascinating museum with exhibits relating to the history and culture of Ethiopia. There are many displays of the various ethnic groups found in Ethiopia with information about each of their lifestyles. A large amount of ethnic outfits, instruments, tools, and other artifacts accompany each ethnic exhibit, making it one of the most interesting museums in the city!  edit
  • Addis Ababa Museum. While the national museum houses artifacts from all over Ethiopia, this museum focuses solely on artifacts and exhibits from Addis Ababa. The building itself was once a palace where Ras Biru Habte-Gabriel, a former Minister of War, resided.  edit
  • Ethiopian National History Museum.  edit
  • Ethiopian Railway Museum.  edit
  • National Postal Museum.  edit
  • Holy Trinity Cathedral. It was once the largest Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral. It was built to commemorate the country's liberation from the Italians, and many victims killed by the Italians during occupation are buried here. The locals call the church Haile Selassie Church, because Emperor Haile Selassie's body was moved here in 1992.  edit

Other features of the city include the large Merkato market, the Jan Meda Race Ground racecourse, Bihere Tsige Recreation Centre and a railway line to Djibouti, while the Entoto Mountains start among the northern suburbs.

  • The Hager Fikir Theatre, the oldest theater in Ethiopia, is located at the Piazza district.
  • Suburbs of the city include Shiro Meda and Entoto in the north, Urael and Bole (home to Bole International Airport) in the east, Nifas Silk in the south-east, Mekanisa in the south, and Keraniyo and Kolfe in the west.
  • Jan Moda Race Ground.
  • Bihere Tsige Recreation Center.
  • Addis Ababa Golf Club.
  • Entoto Mountain: walk from St. Marry church, the first church of Addis and St Urael church and see the city itself from the top of the mountain.
  • Lion zoo: near to Addis Ababa university


Addis Ababa University is the largest and the oldest university in Ethiopia. It was originally named "University College of Addis Ababa" at its founding, then renamed for the former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I in 1962, receiving its current name in 1975.

Although the university has six of its seven campuses within Addis Ababa (the seventh is located in Debre Zeit, about 45 kilometers away), it also maintains branches in many cities throughout Ethiopia, leading to the claim of being "the largest university in Africa." The government assigns qualified students to these universities upon completion of secondary school. Students also attend other private colleges, such as Unity College. Addis Ababa University was founded in 1950 at the request of Haile Selassie by a Canadian Jesuit, Dr Lucien Matte as a two-year college, and began operations the next year. Over the following two years an affiliation with the University of London was developed. There is also Theological College of the Holy Trinity, a theological school of higher education located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It provides religious and secular education to both clergy and lay members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, as well seeking to be a center of theological and ecclesiastical study for all Oriental Orthodox Churches as well.

Originally founded as a high school by Emperor Haile Selassie in 1942, the college division was added in 5 October 1960, and the elementary education section eliminated on 18 December 1961 and the college became one of the chartered units of this first National University of Ethiopia.

  • There is a high demand for IT professionals.
  • Many start-up companies search for individuals with computer networking and consulting background.
  • Addis-Ababa has the highest number of NGO's in Africa, and possibly in entire third world countries in the globe. They are well known for paying good salaries for their employees.
  • The unemployment rate in Addis is low according to the (8% of the population in Addis Abeba are currently unemployed) (2008)
  • Many expatriates work in NGOs and small start-up IT companies.
  • Comparing to other African cities, Addis-Ababa has a high number of big, medium and small sized computer training schools, governmental and private learning institutions. Many students who attend there hope to land an IT or consulting job, in the very scarce job market of the city.
  • Merkato. The merkato is the largest outdoor market in the world, and you can get anything from tourist goods (t-shirts, wood crafts, etc.) to fabric to metal goods there. Haggling and bargaining are standard procedure, and foreigners (especially those of European ancestry) should expect to be charged higher prices. To ensure a positive experience, maintain a sense of humor, don't be afraid to negotiate aggressively, and above all don't let yourself be bullied by the many "brokers" who frequent the market, and will try to steer you towards certain stores in exchange for a kick-back from the merchant. You will be able to negotiate lower prices if you can avoid brokers, and especially if you have a local friend or guide to buy things on your behalf. (250 stores)
  • Friendship Supermarket. Bole Road (airport end). Well-stocked western-style supermarket - and they accept Visa. (225 stores)
  • Edna Mall. Bole Road (109 stores)
  • Dembel City Center (132 stores)
  • Getu Commercial center (105 stores)
  • Addis Sheraton Shopping (84 stores)
  • Loyal Shopping center (120 stroes)
  • Arat Kilo Shopping center (98 stores)
  • Piassa Shopping center (67 stores)
  • Bambis department store (3 stores)

Get Money

ATMs/Cash Machines - are still rare in Addis. Found at D.H. Geda Tower (next to Friendship City Center and doesn't always work; accepts Mastercard too), Dembel City Center (quite hidden, use the main entrance, than to the left, at the window), in some hotels (Hilton, Sheraton, Intercontinental, Wabi Shebelle Hotel, Ethiopia Hotel, Semein Hotel). Also near the National Museum (Lucy Gazebo Restaurant), ground floor of Getu Commercial center just at the entrance and some branches of Dashen Bank. [1] Not all cards are accepted everywhere, Dashen Bank ATMs accept VISA/MASTER CARD/CIRRUS. Do NOT depend on them as your only source of cash as sometimes they can be out of order.

Cash on Credit Cards at Dashen Bank in Sheraton but at 6% and US$ 500 max per day. Best place to change Travelers Cheques and Cash are the two private enterprise banks on Hilton Ground Floor, Nib and United. Travelers Cheques in USD are well accepted, in EUR there are sometimes problems.

Abyssinia Bank at Filwoha/Stadium and city end of Bole Rd are also good. UK Travelers recommended to use Nationwide Debit Card - NO commission. Avoid branches of CBE or Awash Bank on main roads - take ages.

There is a black market where you can get a slightly better rate, especially if you bargain. Most souvenir shops off Churchill Rd and Zambia St do it.

There is ATM available in the Bole Airport at the left side of the customs exit(about 10m away).

Dashen Bank is the one setting up the ATMS so see their website to keep up to date

At airport CBE bank is in BAGGAGE CLAIM Area for ARRIVERS

This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Below 50 ETB
Mid-range 50-250 ETB
Splurge 250 ETB+


Addis has hundreds of Cake and Coffee cafes. They sell various coffees, tea - black unless you ask for "machiatto" - and sometimes fruit juices. There are also juice beits .

The cafes along Bole Road and around the Piassa area are of a high standard and relatively inexpensive. Most are very similar to each other. Most cafes serve the common drink called 'sprice juice' (which is just fruit pulp served in layers in a glass). There are usually 3 layers from a selection of avocado, mango, papaya, banana, guava etc. The juice is eaten with a spoon. It is colorful and tastes delicious. Single fruit juices are also great = orange, papaya, mango, pineapple - beautifully fresh. 7 birr up to 25 birr in Hilton.....

  • Cafe Chocolata on Victory Road (near Shoppers Mart supermarket) serves drinks and snacks and is very nice. All the staff are former street girls and prostitutes who are trying to make something of their lives.
  • City Cafe on Bole has delicious cakes and pastries as well as high quality Ethiopian espresso coffees. You can sit on the porch and watch the activity on one of the main roads in Addis.

Restaurants that do not have an English menu are cheaper. Example: Connection between Bole Road and Tele-Bole, next to Bole roundabout, at NOC-Fuelstation, close to German Kantine. You can have lunch (local food, spaghetti) for less then 20 birr. If you don't have a translator, ordering is a lot of fun.

  • Habesha Bole Road. This cultural restaurant has traditional singing and dancing at night. If you're feeling brave, try the gored gored (cubes of heavily salted and spiced raw beef). Waiters are well mannered and kind, and most are very talented dancers.
  • Team Mini Bole Road. This friendly, high quality "cultural" restaurant serving traditional Ethiopian food. Be sure to try the mesir besiga (ground meat with lentils). At night, Team Mini features performances by traditional singers and dancers. The entertainment is not as good as that at Habesha, but the food is generally better.
  • The Limetree Bole Road, Boston Partners Building. While Ethiopian food is delicious there comes a time when you will crave western fare. The Limetree provides a beautiful range including gourmet sandwiches, pasta and arabic beef. A favorite hangout of ex-pats and NGO workers, the Limetree is nevertheless one of the best (and surprisingly affordable) resautrant/cafes in Addis.
  • Addis Cuisine. Wollo Sefer. Bole end of Ethio Chinese Friendship Road,on the north side of 6 lane road. Good western and Ethiopian food.
  • Canaan - from Airport-Roundabout down bole road, take small road on the left (before Bole Mini). Very nice pizza. Less then Mid-range, a bit more than Budget
  • Pizza Deli Roma - Deli Roma is a chain. Locations are: Bole Road, coming from airport, go to the right (pass Alizee Club), after about 50m on the right side; Bole Road on the left side on the way from Demble building to Meskal square; there is a 3rd location (I do not remember it). One of the best Pizza in town.
  • Fisherman Restaurant Mickey Leland Street, Near Atlas Hotel. Is a half-Chinese, half-Tibetan restaurant serving an excellent range of Asian cuisine and specializing in seafood.
  • Aladdin Restaurant Bole Rwanda. Serves Middle-Eastern food. Very expensive but authentic and delicious.
  • Castellis in Piazza. Top Italian restaurant here since 1942.
  • Top View Restaurant. Past Bole airport near gutara. Very good food but can be expensive for a dinner meal.
  • Green View Italian Restaurant / Pizzeria Bole Mickey Leland Street, Near Atlas Hotel. Hand down, excellent pizza in Addis! Another location near CMC.
  • Serenade Restaurant. In the Amset Kilo area, close to Nazareth School. Will need a reservation. Probably the best food in town, Middle-Eastern influence.


If you want to drink the national drink of Ethiopia, you have to try the 'tej' which brewed from honey. You can also try 'tela' which is like a beer. All kind of drinks are available in all the bars, from blue label to vodka.

  • Champions is the lounge across the street from Limetree building. Hookah and drinks are modestly priced and the atmosphere is very "turkish".
  • Gaslight is the fancy nightclub at the Sheraton. If the famous owner Al Moudi is in town, you may catch a glimpse of him here. Inside, it feels like an upscale Western disco. Be sure not to wear jeans or sneakers, as they have a fairly strict dress code.
  • Memo is a seedy nightclub with a pretty good dance floor. Be sure to try the bozena shiro in the outdoor courtyard.
  • Club Deep is the best in Addis. There is a cover charge but the drinks inside are very inexpensive. The music and dancing is great. Like usual, the main problem is the bathrooms.
  • Meda Sports Bar and Grill has a large, spacious bar which is comfortable for chatting or watching a game. The downstairs lounge provides a more intimate setting for quiet conversations. And upstairs, the loft has a relaxed, casual dining atmosphere – all the best of Ballston, VA in one convenient stop!
  • The Black Rose The energetic atmosphere is both comfortable and fashionable, and the bar serves a variety of drinks. The bartenders mix the best Cosmo this side of the Nile. The live jazz jam session in Addis every thursday night.
  • Divine On Bole Road on the top floor of Sheger House, is currently one of the coolest clubs in Addis. It features a very western-oriented playlist along with ample space for relaxing and a pumping dance floor on weekends.
  • Bailamos On the top floor of the Novis building on Bole Road is a new (2007) club which features a surprisingly vibrant salsa scene in the Weekends. The club also offers salsa classes.Bailamos has live music every Saturday (Soft rock, salsa, R&B etc...)
  • Dome Club (Concorde) Debre Zeyit Road, Addis Ababa.
  • Illusion
  • Temptation
  • Indigo
  • Park Hotel, a cheapy starting at 20 Birr, the rooms aren't exactly clean
  • Filwoha Hotel, near the hot springs, tel 511404.
  • Fin-Fin Hotel, opposite the Filwoha Hotel.
  • Hawi, Debre Zeit Road, south of the city center.
  • Holiday Hotel, Haile Gebresilassie Road near the Plaza Hotel.
  • Yordanos Hotel, Haile Gebresilassie Road, tel 515711, fax 516655.
  • Taitu Hotel, Piazza, opposite the National Lottery Authority Head Quarters, they have an annexe with cheap rooms (doubles from Birr 45), but you have to explicitly ask for it. Excellent value for money, very quiet, but toilets and shower are in despicable condition.
  • Worku Bikila Hotel [2], about 20 kilometers south-west of Addis Ababa, in Dukem, thriving hotel for budget to mid-range travellers.
  • Baro Hotel, Piazza, from Birr 95 (single) 130 (double), a genuine travellers meeting point (whoever happens to travel through Addis Ababa will sooner or later show up there...) and a marvellous courtyard, very friendly staff, restaurant on site, and hot water mostly in the mornings. Old decor and cramped, but decent value. They now take VISA without commission.
  • Wutma Hotel, Piazza (across the Baro Hotel), from Birr 100 (single), not much better rooms than the Baro and less company
  • Abrehams Hotel, Piazza, from Birr 25 (single), a dump but has rooms when the others are fully booked.
  • Axum, Haile Gebresilassie Road, tel 188832.
  • Balu, Near Piazza.
  • Beer Garden Inn, Near the airport, Its menu specializes in German delicacies such as Cheese Noodles and grilled chicken washed down with wheat beer. A half litre cost 11 Birr ­ about one euro.
  • Buffet de la Gare, tel 517888, 517125, fax 515959.
  • Ethio Comfort Guest House, [3] This newly built modern guest house has excellent large clean rooms with balconies, delicious home cooked food and extremely friendly and welcoming hosts who made our stay in Addis both comfortable and memorable. Tel: +251 11 629 5546 Mob:+251 91 166 2894 Email: Gerji Area, Bole Sub-City, House No.234
  • Desalegn Hotel, tel 1624524, (email:
  • Maskal Flower Hotel, near Debre Zeit Road, tel 517187.
  • Tourist, near the Grand Palace and Trinity Cathedral.
  • Martin's Cozy Place: German Guesthouse Located near the Atlas (almost opposite the side of the hotel) is a favorite for business people or expats having to base themselves in Addis. Martin offers a range of services for tourists and it is a homey place to shack up for a few nights. It costs around 120 ETB a night for a single.
  • Yilma Hotel, in the "Mekanessa" area of Addis. This hotel is about $25 USD per night for tourists. They have an excellent restaurant/cafe with cable television that plays news and sports channels and serve food until 10PM-11PM. The staff is very nice and friendly. They have room service for no added charge. The rooms are minimal but have decent bathrooms with hot water heaters for the shower, flush toilets, and tiled floors. Ask for "Fish" the manager and you will surely be treated well.
  • Z Guest House, [4]. This a nice family-run bed & breakfast in a quiet residential area of Addis Ababa offering clean rooms and beautiful furnished apartments with fully-equipped kitchens and satellite TV. Starts at $29.95/night for a Single Suite. It’s located less than one mile from Piassa, only about 12 minutes from the airport.

The RAS - see Splurge - should really be here ...if not in Budget. Single rooms c 120br Damu-Damu Hotel.

  • Addis Ababa Hilton [5], central Menelik Ave, tel. 518400, fax 510064. The Hilton has many of the amenities you'd expect at an international hotel (airline agents, money changing, restaurant, bar, gym, sauna, swimming pool, high speed internet access), but it's rather mediocre, so you never forget you're still in the developing world.
  • Sheraton Addis [6], central Yohanis St, tel 517138, fax 514029. This obscenely luxurious hotel was built by an Ethiopian billionaire, who is also Ethiopia's largest employer after the government. This is the place to go for 5-star opulence. It also one of few places in Addis where you can get cash from an ATM or credit card.
  • Carrera Lodge, Rossevelt St, tel 517400, 447400.
  • Dimitri Hotel [7], located in the modern city district of Yeka, in peaceful surroundings, this hotel inaugurated in 2008 offers luxury rooms and many free services, such as in-room wireless Internet access and premium satellite TV channels.
  • Ghion [8], central Menelik Ave near Maskal/Abbiott Square, tel 513222, 443170. it is not on Menelik Ave. It is on Ras Dasta Damtew just out of Maskal Square.
  • Ras, Church Rd just North of the railway station, tel 517060, 447060. One of the oldest hotels in Addis.
  • International Hotel, downtown near beginning of Bole Road. About $40 USD per night. Clean and rooms are HUGE with living room, separate bedroom, many bathrooms include large tub. Staff is very nice and rooms have enormous balconies overlooking the green open areas of the Sheraton hotel as well as views of Mt. Entoto. A great place to stay if you need easy access to the Bole Airport without risking traffic delays. [Note: if this is the Atlas International Hotel, the rates as of May 2008 are now higher -- $65 USD for a single, $85 USD for a small double -- cash only, no Visa]
  • Faro Hotel, Tel +2511-0116-621186. Brand new Ethiopian/Euro-style "boutique" hotel just minutes away from Bole Airport, Bole Rock Gym, Boston Day Spa, Friendship Center and Lime Tree restaurant -- a great location to base yourself from. Woman-owned, with a welcoming staff. Features Internet in each room, kitchenette in each room, with brand new bathrooms that include modern steam shower units and very comfortable new beds with duvets. Priced $100 USD per night plus 25% tax and service charge. Has full dining facilities; a bar & juice counter in the lobby and will soon have a swimming pool on its roof. Request a room with a view -- a breathtaking sweep of southern Addis Ababa with the mountains in the background. Many smaller hotels require you pay in cash -- Faro takes cash or Visa.
  • Addis is safer than most cities in Africa. Gang violence is unusual. However, you may encounter some pick-pockets and con-artists around and inside Bole Airport, Mercato, Piazza areas. Keep your belongings close, and pay attention to your surroundings. The good news is most of these pick-pockets are unarmed and very young boys. If they know that you are aware of what they are up to, they get intimidated and go away.
  • The major and important roads and areas are patrolled by the 'Federal Police' or, as the city residents refer them Federal. They have a reputation of being merciless with suspected criminals. In contrast, the Addis-Ababa city police, who most of the time patrol the less important city streets, markets and neighborhoods are more tolerant and less respected police officers.
  • There is also, a phone emergency line in Addis. For a traveler from US, it is easy to remember the emergency line, because it is 9-1. (Compares to US' 9-1-1) Major streets are generally safe at night.
  • If you see anything suspicious or threatening, notify a city policeman.
  • In a total difference of other African cities, in Addis-Ababa, police officers NEVER approach foreigners to ask them to present a passport, ID or "legal" papers. Once you show your passport at the airport, you are free to move around pretty much anywhere. The only time you need your passport or ID is, for hotel registration (booking) and other similar and few instances. (It is important to have your ID with you at all times, however) Many visitors appreciate that they don't have to be questioned who they are or where they are from by a police officer who wants to extract bribe money from them, every time they turn around. This could be one of Addis-Ababa's appeal.


Watch what you drink or you can fall sick! It is important to remember to only drink bottled water- There are many brands to choose from Ambo, Real, Highland but Aqua Safe brand is most trusted. ALWAYS check the plastic seal on all bottles before paying any vendor. Most travelers should be warned against eating vegetables such as those in salads that may have been washed in water. Try limiting fruits and vegetables to those you "peel" such as oranges, mangos, etc.

Be prepared for culture shock - If you take photos of the people, ask first and offer to show them their picture if you have a digital camera with a display screen. Children enjoy seeing their pictures a lot of the time!

Your emotions are real- it is okay to feel overwhelmed if you have not experienced this type of culture difference before. If you are NOT affected by the poverty, then there is something wrong! Be polite but not intrusive. It is OK to ask questions of the locals, but you should be prepared to be hassled a LOT of the time if you are white. Additionally, for foreign travelers who are black, especially American, although possibly able to "blend in", precautions are the order of the day (depending where you are, in Addis on Bole road they are used to seeing foreigners compared to the country side). If you prepare your mindset before arrival, you will be better able to cope.

  • Canada, Old Airport Area, Nefas Silk Lafto Sub City Kebeli 04, House No. 122, +251-11-371-3022, [9].  edit
  • Italy, Villa Italia, Kebena', P. O. Box 1105 Addis Abeba, +251 11 1235717, [10].  edit
  • Sweden, Ras Tessema Sefer, Higher 3, K-53, House No. 891, +251-11-518 0000, [11].  edit



The country code for calling Ethiopia is 251. The Ethiopian dialing plan changed on September 17, 2005, such that the two-digit city code changed to three digits (or, from outside the country, one to two digits) and six-digit telephone numbers changed to seven digits. The city code for Addis Ababa, as of Sept. 17, 2005, is 011 (or 11 from outside Ethiopia). An on-line telephone number converter, which will convert an old number to the new number, is available here: [12].


Ethiopia uses GSM network and operated by Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation. Currently there are decent coverage around big cities such as Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Harar, Dese, Gonder, Mekele, and Nekemete. It is expanding into small cities.

Roaming charges are very steep. For a short visit, your best option for mobile access is to rent a SIM card with a phone. Only a few stores rent SIM cards: You can rent SIM card and phone inside Addis Ababa Sheraton hotel but is it very expensive. Another option is to rent a SIM card and mobile phone from local stores (for example Red Zebraes, [13]).


In Addis Ababa, especially in Bole Subcity, you can find quite a number of internet cafes. Some cafes still use Dial-Up connections, but broadband becomes more popular. Most of the high-end hotels have internet connections (either Ethernet or WiFi), which are reasonably fast and often free for hotel guests.

A general problem about Internet in Ethiopia is the unstable international high-speed connection. If it is not working, even broadband cafes only delivers Dial-Up speeds and less. The local definition of highspeed broadband is 128kbits. Another general problem is the shortage of electricity, forcing daytime blackoutd of whole areas 1-2 days a week, so it is good to plan ahead where you are going for internet access. During the winter months of 2009 (Jun-Aug), electricity had gone off on one side of the city for one day, and another side for the next.

Skype and similar services is forbidden by the government. According to local press, Ethiopia today have the fourth worst internet in the world.

  • Arkies Business Center, Piazza, next to 'Taitu Hotels'
  • Broadband Internet in DH Geda Tower, next to Friendship City Center / Bole Road. 128kbps, many seats, but mostly completely occupied. The good thing is, that is is easy to find.
  • Nina Internetcafe, across from Baro Hotels, inside Wutema Hotels
  • TG Business Center [14], Bole, from Airport (Big Roundabout) to the right, junction with Cameroon Road (locally known as "Bole-Tele") has broadband but only 3 seats. Most of the time it is not crowed, so a good connection can be expected

Wireless Internet

3G Internet services (known as WCDMA or UMTS) are available in many parts of Addis Ababa. A special SIM card and capable phone is needed. Price is 1 ETB per 100 KB. Also CDMA is available, that needs special devices (prices around 0,10 ETB per Minute, around 128kbits). CDMA is also available in some other cities.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:




Alternative spellings

Proper noun

Addis Ababa

  1. The capital of Ethiopia.



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address