go to content go to search box go to global site navigation
B220b8f7b716081591e54c04a0b08a4a holy trinity cathedral

Introducing Addis Ababa

Since its establishment in the 19th century, Addis Ababa (አዲስ አበባ) has always seemed like a magical portal, a gateway to another world. For the rural masses of Ethiopia it was, and is, a city whose streets are paved in gold; and for a foreign visitor, the portal of Addis Ababa is at the verge of an ancient and mystical world.

For both these groups, Addis – Africa’s fourth-largest city and its diplomatic capital – is a place of contrasts: the shepherd from the countryside bringing his flock to a city market; the city priest with the business investments; the glossy nightclubs with the country-girl prostitutes. Despite this merging of worlds, many foreign visitors try to transit Addis as quickly as possible. But take note: by skipping out on the contradictions of this happening city you run the risk of failing to understand Ethiopia altogether.