Must-see attractions in Asmara

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    Top Choice
    Tank Graveyard

    Part junkyard, part memorial, the ruins of military vehicles from around the country have been dragged to this open field in the years since heavy…

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    Top Choice
    Opera House

    The Opera House, completed around 1920, is one of Asmara's most elegant early–20th-century buildings. It's free to have a look around during the resident…

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    Top Choice
    Bowling Alley

    A block south of the Municipality Building, the Bowling Alley is one of the few genuine 1950s alleys left in the world. It was probably built for US…

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    Fiat Tagliero Building

    A futurist departure from the art deco standard that defines most of the notable Italian-era buildings in Asmara, this former petrol station was…

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    Medebar Market

    Duck up northeast to soak up the atmosphere of the Medebar Market. No doubt you'll be awestruck the minute you enter this mind-boggling place. It's an…

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    Emba Derho

    This small village on the road to Keren is within the 25km limit from Asmara within which travellers can move freely without permits, and the foothills…

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    Villa Roma

    Opposite the Africa Pension Hotel, the gleaming Villa Roma is reminiscent of a Roman villa with its marble staircases, louvred shutters, curving…

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    Central Market

    North of Harnet Ave, the sprawling Central Market is one of Asmara's major attractions. The best time to visit is early on Saturday, when people come in…

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    Enda Mariam Orthodox Cathedral

    The Enda Mariam Orthodox Cathedral, just east of the centre, was built in 1938 and is a curious blend of Italian and Eritrean architecture. Its central…

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    Asmara Orthodox Cemetery

    A calm overgrown tract just outside the city centre; the quiet chapel on a hilltop above the cemetery also offers stunning views of the skyline.

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    National Museum

    Asmara's strong point are its buildings, rather than its museums, but it's also worth popping your head into the National Museum, west of the former…

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    Former Governor's Palace

    The best place to start exploring the city is at the Former Governor's Palace, which stands majestically at the western end of Harnet Ave. Built in 1897…

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    Great Mosque

    At the head of a large open square near the old market is the Great Mosque. Completed in 1938, this grand complex combines rationalist, classical and…

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    Odeon Cinema

    Just off Harnet Ave near the EriTel building, the quirky Odeon Cinema and its attractive art deco exterior from the late 1930s is all but closed, so you…

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    Catholic Cathedral

    Strolling along Harnet Ave you'll be hard-pressed to miss Asmara's most iconic monument, the elaborate, brick-walled Catholic cathedral. Consecrated in…

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    Italian Cemetery

    Final resting place to generations of Italians, this lovely little cemetery is still used by the few immigrant families that remain. It's uphill off…

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    Asmara Piscina

    The 1940s Asmara Piscina is currently closed to swimmers, but there's nothing stopping you from badgering the attendant for a peek inside the modernist…

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    Capitol Cinema

    This cinema building, now abandoned except for a few pool tables in a gallery off the lobby, was constructed in 1932.

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    Ministry of Education

    Adjacent to the elegant Opera House, the 1930s Italian-era Ministry of Education, with its massive stepped tower, is strikingly austere. Because it's a…