Addis Ababa Concise Guide (and 11 questions answered)

Ethiopia city addis ababa panorama -

Addis Ababa is now the largest and capital city of Ethiopia. The city is located within the geography of the country, on a well-watered plateau usually surrounded by mountains and hills. Addis Ababa is sometimes called the capital of Africa, due to its geographic locations, combined with its political and socio-economic status have made Addis Ababa be recognized and given the attention by thousands of individuals and nations coming from all over the world.

Addis Ababa is now growing fast and becoming more sophisticated. This dynamic growth makes Addis Ababa be a center target by many continental and international organizations, such as Africa Union, making the city Addis Ababa as headquarter for the continents. Also, its role and engagement towards peace and security, historical, political significance for the continent, and diplomatic strategies, Addis Ababa is now often referred to as “the capital of Africa.”

What Was the Origin of Addis Ababa?

The world Addis Ababa means “New Flower” in the African language of Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia. Addis Ababa was founded and given the name by Empress Taitu, who was the wife of Emperor Menelik II, around 1886. Their settlement at that time was based centrality of the city. Therefore, the king palace was located at the center of the city, now Entoto.

Due to the Italian colonization of Ethiopia, from 1935 up to 1941, the city Addis Ababa had been affected both on Architectural designs and city planning. The Italians invented many European styles to the county and also big central district’s which is known as Piazza. This effect can be seen now on many historical buildings and sites. 

Addis Ababa was discovered by the Empress Taytu Betul, who was the wife of Emperor Menelik II, and the city was founded in 1886 by her husband, Emperor Menelik II. The reason they choose the site was due to its topography because this makes the site to be in higher altitude than the rest cities. Then the Emperor found Addis Ababa to be a useful base for military operations in the south.

However, the initial site Entoto was not comfortable for the Emperors to build. This was because of the lock of firewood and water within the site. So, the settlement had to shift to the south mountain, so the Emperors started to build along the valley south of the mountain in 1886.

Emperor Taytu started to build in a place her own house called “Filwoha” which is characterized by hot mineral springs. This created an opportunity for the Empress and members of the Showan Royal Court to enjoy the place and take mineral baths. Other nobilities and their staff started to settle in the vicinity, and Emperor Menelik started to expand his wife’s house to make the Imperial Palace, and this palace is now used as a seat for the government.

When Emperor Menelik II became the King of Ethiopia, the town changed its name to Addis Ababa and Addis Ababa became Ethiopian Capital City and from that point of time, Addis Ababa started to grow, expand, and characterized as a modern city. Within this rapid growth of the city, one of the King’s contributions was the planting of trees, which is still visible called the Eucalyptus trees planted along the city streets. 

addis ababa panorama

What Institutions do I Get in Addis Ababa?

Because Addis Ababa is in growing rapidly, many embassies and missions are there with in the city. This makes the city more dominant and a key to the country’s diplomacy and political intentions. The city Addis Ababa contains more than 120 international missions and embassies, which makes the city a central hub for its continents. There are many continental and international organizations that are found in the city Addis Ababa, such as the African Union and Economic Commission for Africa; both headquarters are found in Addis Ababa.

How Do I Find Places in Addis Ababa?

Addis Ababa is divided into sub-cities, and then sub-cities are divided into wards kebeles. Suburbs found in the east include Bole and Urael, North includes Entoto and Shiro Meda, West includes Kolfe and Keranio, and finally, suburbs in the south include Mekanisa.

The settlement within Addis Ababa can be also further analyzed based on the economy of the peoples which makes Bole in Southeast, Old airport in Southwest, CMC, Ayat, and Lamberet parts of the town have settlements for the wealthiest people. Addis Ababa is one of the cities to have rail-based public transit, this light rail system was built with the help of the Chinese, and now China is taking the place of foreign countries that help Addis Ababa to grow rapidly.  

What the Addis Ababa Climate Like?

The climate of Addis Ababa is characterized by a subtropical highland climate. Addis Ababa’s average highs lay between 21 C and 25 C, and also the average lows lay between 7 C and 11 C. most of the time, Addis Ababa experiences the warmest months on February up to May, but this warm temperature differs from that person imagining Africa as a hot month, due to this, hotels found in Addis Ababa, they don’t have air conditioning because that temperature is not that much hot compared to other African hot climates.

Addis Ababa has a constant temperature throughout the year, the amount of rainy days per year recorded shows that Addis Ababa has 132 rainy days per year and records of 1,165 mm of rainfall annually.

Ethiopia weather -

What is the Ababa Season Like?

The blustery season is from mid-June to mid-September. Regardless of whether the temperature is comparative with another month, July and August seem colder and less agreeable because of 80% relative mugginess, hardly any long stretches of daylight, and every day downpours: tonsillitis and basic virus are visits.

Rains likewise cause mud and make earth streets lathery. A flood occurs on streets making congested roads, eminently toward the start of the blustery season (end-June), when the water seepage pipes are plugged by residue and squander aggregated during 8 months of the dry season. Tempests (short however overwhelming downpours) are visit and disconnected. It is normal to move to another part of the city for an hour or two only to find the other place wet. In August, it is likewise conceivable to encounter some hail.

How do I travel inside Addis Ababa?

By Air

As the name indicates, Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is the main airport center the country is now using; it is located in Bole suburbs and this airport is now used as by many customers from all over the world and this makes the airport to be a main hub for the Ethiopian Airlines.

The airport is now hosting many international airport hubs such as Lufthansa for Germany, Sudan Airways, Kenya Airways, British Airways, KLM, Turkish Airways, Emirates, Gulf Air, Egypt Air, and fly Dubai. There are many daily flights from Bole International Airport such as Europe, the United States, Asia, and lots of African countries such as Accra, Bamako, Brazzaville, Cairo, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Khartoum, Harare, Johannesburg, and Nairobi.

This transit is the most famous and successful airline. Here at this airport, there are two terminals. Terminal 1 which is the older and smaller is used for domestic flights but however the second Terminal 2 is used for all international flights.

Access to the airport is limited, which means anyone who came to the airport has to park his/her car outside in the car park. However, considering the tourists, hotel cars have the right to pass through and wait at the arrival areas for their customers. This rule is applied for other stations outside Addis Ababa.

Public transports also wait for our side the arrival, but since the airport is more than 4 km from the closest light rail transit station, this makes it unconnected but however, this will be fixed in the future and they will be connected with the airport.

The amount of money is fixed which is 300 birr to get from the airport to anywhere in the city. You will find yellow taxis at the exit point of the international airport.  

By Bus

Since the city Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia, there are many bus terminals stations from Addis Ababa to other cities of Ethiopia. These terminal stations are…

Autobus Tera …this terminal is located at the corner of the Fitawrari Habte Giyorgis St and Central African Republic St, and this terminal is the most usable bus terminal station because most of the national buses arrive and depart from this terminal station.

Ras Mekonin Avenue. This terminal is located in La Gare near the railway station, but now it is closed and moved to another district known as Kality District on Debre Zeit road. This terminal station is usually used by buses to or from Adama Nazret, Debre Zeit, Dire Dawa, Nairobi, Lalibela, Shashemene, Awahha, and Bahir Dar cities.

Asco. This terminal is used by buses to connect Addis Ababa with Nekempte and also beyond from Asco on the old Ambo road.

By Train

There is also a railway line that connects Addis Ababa city with the port city of Djibouti, which is via Dire Dawa. This railway line was opened in 2016/17. The time taken to reach from Addis Ababa to Djibouti is about twelve hours and in every second days. There is only one train available so anyone who wants to go to Addis Ababa has to book by considering the date in order not to miss his or her flight. Tickets are available and can be bought either at the railway stations or at a ticket office which is found next to the old colonial Legehar station on Churchill Ave.  

Blue and White minibus

These are blue and white buses that travel efficiently around the city. Due to the number of the people they hold, most of the time these vehicles are the full width of people. Since they don’t have a stopping point, anyone can catch the bus just by hailing it, and also the conductor will be the one to call out his destination.

Orange/Yellow public buses

According to research in 2016, these buses connected the whole city. There aren’t any schedules or maps available, however, if you attend a significant street where a crowd gathers, you’ll ask people or the cashier which is usually in a very cabin at the rear door for your destination but however, these buses might be overcrowded some times.

Uber type Taxi

Uber doesn’t operate here yet, but there are some alternatives. Ride and Zay ride are one of the few. You need to call directly to call for a cab or you need to use the app that you will find on Appstore. This is probably one of the best options to travel to the city. The price is fixed on the distance; therefore, you won’t have to negotiate as you do on blue Lada taxis.

Small blue Lada taxis

Small blue Lada taxis are costlier. Negotiation is that the norm and any tourist need to regularly press quite hard to urge a bargain as a foreigner. They will be contracted for one trip, an hour, or a full day. Many foreigners get confused if the value of the taxi increases in the dark for an identical trip.

Yellow taxis (not the airport ones)

Yellow and green taxis usually lurk around hotels like Sheraton. They’re costlier but reliable. If you’re willing to procure peace of mind, slightly better drivers, and a car that wasn’t featured within the Flintstones, use these cars.

Is It Safe to Walk in Addis Ababa?

Walking from Meskel square to Sidest kilo, we can find a beautiful and amazing experience. we will see the Sheraton Hotel, the primary modern school (which Emperor Menelik II inbuilt the 1880s), the Trinity Orthodox cathedral, the National Museum, and therefore the New Flower University (which hosts a former palace and museum).

Arat Kilo Avenue is marked by a statue inbuilt commemoration of the Ethiopian day of victory during the Second war. Around Arat Kilo, you’ll find a part of an old town called Serategna Sefer (literally, the dominion of laborers). If you go past Sidest Kilo, the road becomes steeper and plenty of of the attractions are going to be on the correct side of the road.

The Entoto college is also there, which stands up to three, 300 m above water level. You can take a taxi or a bus to the mountain unless you’re of a mind to undertake it yourself. On the mountain, you’ll find the primary churches of New Flower, called Saint Mary and Saint Raguel, and a smaller palace of Menelik II. Walking the mountain, especially between the churches, is refreshing and provides the possibility to work out rural life, the city, and the forest.

Addis Ababa is a generally safe city.

What Are the Must-Visit Museums in Addis Ababa?

There are a lot of Museums found in Addis Ababa site, such as: –

Addis Ababa Museum-This museum focuses on artifacts and also exhibits.

Ethiopian railway museum

Ethnological museum- Also referred to as the Museum and Library of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, this can be a desirable museum with exhibits about the history and culture of Ethiopia. There are many displays of the varied ethnic groups found in Ethiopia with information about each of their lifestyles. Ethnic outfits, instruments, tools, and other artifacts accompany each ethnic exhibit, making it one among the foremost interesting museums within the city.

National Museum of Ethiopia- An interesting museum with the famous exhibit is the replica of Lucy, an early hominid. The artifacts within the museum span thousands of years, including some from its earliest days.

Red Terror martyr’s memorial museum- This museum is about in memory of those who lost their lives during Derg regime. The building was during a fairly poor state with none of the lights seemingly working. Worth a fast visit, won’t take quite a quarter-hour.

bole addis ababa medhane alem church

What Are the Major Churches I Can Visit?

Many churches are open for tourists. The modern architecture and the historic artifacts they hold are a must-visit.

Gola Saint Michael church- this church is known by its bold interior old paintings and features a museum displaying church articles given by many famous people of the country including the emperor Haile Selassie and his Empress.

  • Holy trinity cathedral-found in Arat kilo
  • Medhane Alem cathedral-largest cathedral in Ethiopia
  • Roman Catholic cathedral of nativity- this is found in Mercato area
  • St George’s cathedral-This church is found in Piassa and this cathedral is shaped octagonal building. As you walk around it, you’ll notice people praying beside the walls. The interior is bold and nicely decorated with huge paintings and mosaics. The near museum has a remarkable and well-displayed collection including ceremonial clothes and ancient manuscripts.
  • Bata Maryam church-known as Menelik mausoleum

What Are Tourist Places In Addis Ababa?

  • Africa Hall-headquarter for AU
  • Tiglachin monument-also called Derg monument
  • Ethiopian national library
  • Lion of Judah Menelik-located near the former railway station
  • Unity Park- this is one among the must-see sights in Addis Ababa. The site was home to the Palace of Emperor Menelik II. It has exhibitions, sculptures, and many more. it’s probably the most effective presented site in Ethiopia, the pet project of the Prime Minister, whose office is additionally on the sight.
  • National Palace
  • Netsa Art Village
  • Parliament Building
  • Shengo Hall
  • Hager Fikir Theatre-piazza district
  • Jan Meda race ground-Timket holiday
  • Addis Ababa Golf club
  • BihereTsige recreation center
  • Entoto Mountain
  • Fendika Azmari bet- located in Zewditu st Kazanches

What can I buy in Addis Ababa?

There are several places where you will find anything from food to products to local arts. Mercato- is the largest outdoor market within the world and the biggest in Ethiopia, and foreigners should be able to get anything from tourist goods (t-shirts, wood crafts, etc.). Haggling and bargaining are standard operating procedure, and foreigners (especially those of European ancestry) should expect to be charged higher prices. to confirm a positive experience, maintain a way of humor,

In Merkato, people always negotiate for lower prices and they will be able to avoid brokers and this is highly accessed and this creates the site to be more vibrant and condensed.

Hypermarkets such as Friendship mall in Bole, to Edna mall to other commercial centers. Most shops contain a huge book shop, boutique, barbershop, fashion districts and cinema (some 3D multiplex film “Matti Multiplex” (three screens)), which plays both Amharic and English-language films. Western movies commonly are appeared inside seven days to a month of their U.S. discharge, however infrequently they may work on European discharge plans.

The focal point of the shopping center highlights an arcade zone and an indoor event congregation with merry go round, bull-riding, climbing tubes, 7D film, and fun-mobiles; it’s an enjoyable place for little kids, however truly swarmed on the ends of the week and occasions. Incorporate a few eateries. Additionally, found close by are a few move clubs.

These buildings include Edna mall- Dembel city center, Getu commercial center, Addis Sheraton shopping, Piassa shopping center, Shoa supermarket, Lafto mall, and Makush gallery and restaurant.


Addis Ababa’s fabricates incorporate materials, shoes, nourishment, drinks, wood items, plastics, and substance items. A large portion of Ethiopia’s administration enterprises is additionally situated in the city. Banking and protection administrations are moved in Addis Ababa, and the country’s significant papers are distributed there.

Addis Ababa is the instructive and managerial focus of Ethiopia. It is the site of Addis Ababa University (1950) and contains a few educators preparing universities and specialized schools. Likewise situated in the city is the Museum of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (worked by the college), the National School of Music, the National Library and Archives, castles of previous rulers, and legislative services. A few global associations have their home office in the city; the most significant are the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, both situated in Africa Hall.

The greater part of the fare and import exchange of Ethiopia is directed through Addis Ababa on its approach to or from the ports of Djibouti, on the Gulf of Aden, or Asseb, Eritrea, on the Red Sea. The city is likewise the assortment and appropriation place for a great part of the nation’s inner exchange. The Mercato, situated in the western piece of the city, is one of the biggest outside business sectors in Africa. The Piazza in the focal city and Bole Road toward the southeast component progressively costly European-style strip malls.

Addis Ababa is the center point of the country’s transportation organization. A few streets interface it to other significant urban areas; the main railroad races to Djibouti. The city is likewise served by a worldwide air terminal.

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