Welcome to 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; for a foreign visitor, the gateway of Addis Ababa is at the verge of an ancient and mystical world. And yet, Addis – Africa’s fourth-largest city and its diplomatic capital – is also a traffic-choked, sprawling city of no discernible beauty that many foreign visitors try to transit as quickly as possible. But take note: by skipping out on the contradictions of this complex city you run the risk of failing to understand Ethiopia altogether. And apart from anything else, Addis is the best place in the country to sample Ethiopian food, and has some wonderful museums and places to stay.