|The Beauty of Addis Ababa|
Founded by the Ethiopian emperor Menelik II in 1886, the city of Addis Ababa is Ethiopia’s political, economic and social nerve –centre. It is the focus of a highway network, the site of an international airport, and the terminus of a railroad to the Gulf of Aden port of Djibouti. Still, it’s the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Union (AU) and more besides. Africa Hall on Menelik 11 Ave - an imposing symbol of African independence and optimism houses the headquarters of the UN Economic Commission for Africa.
The huge stained glass windows depict the suffering of the people of Africa. 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 city itself is situated in the foothills of the Entoto Mountains and standing at 3,000 meters above sea level, making it the third highest capital in the world. This big, expansive, hospitable city has a population of over two-and-a-half million with as many as 80 nationalities speaking 80 languages and belonging to different religious communities. This ethnic blend enriches Addis Ababa with flourishing cultural life underpinned by the eclectic music, song and dance as well as museums satiated with the very best of human origin. It is home to the Menelik Mausoleum, built in 1911 and serves as a tomb for emperors, princess and martyrs of freedom, the National Museum, which houses numerous antiquarian relics and archaeological atrifacs showing the history of Ethiopia from the prehistoric times to the modern day. Its most famous exhibit is the 2.5 million year old skeleton of ‘Lucy’. Wide, tree-lined streets filled with the scent of flowers and eucalyptus, fine architecture, glorious weather and the incongruity of donkey trains along the boulevards make Addis Ababa a city of surprises and a delightful place to explore and behold. The clear mountain air gives the city the bracing atmosphere of a summer highland resort. It enjoys a mild climate, with an average temperature of 61 degrees Fahrenheit. The high elevation moderates temperatures year-round, and the city’s position near the equator means that temperatures are very constant monthly. Addis Ababa stands at the very heart of Ethiopia and there is much to do, to see, to tell and to enjoy.