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Addis Ababa (sometimes spelled Addis Abeba, the spelling used by the official Ethiopian Mapping Authority) is the capital city of Ethiopiamarker. (In Ethiopian languages: Amharic, Adis Abäba "new flower," Oromo, Finfinne, ; Ge'ez ኣዲስ ኣበባ) It is the largest city in Ethiopia, with a population of 3,384,569 according to the 2008 population census.

As a chartered city (ras gez astedader), Addis Ababa has the status of both a city and a state. It is where the African Union and its predecessor the OAU are based. Addis Ababa is therefore often referred to as "the capital of Africa", due to its historical, diplomatic and political significance for the continent. The city is populated by people from different regions of Ethiopia – the country has as many as 80 nationalities speaking 80 languages and belonging to a wide variety of religious communities. It is home to Addis Ababa University.

Addis Ababa lies at an altitude of 7,546 feet (2,300 metres) and is a grassland biome, located at . The city lies at the foot of Mount Entotomarker. From its lowest point, around Bole International Airportmarker, at above sea level in the southern periphery, the city rises to over in the Entoto Mountains to the north.

History

The site of Addis Ababa was chosen by Empress Taytu Betul and the city was founded in 1886 by her husband, Emperor Menelik II. The name of the city (ኣዲስ ኣበባ) was taken from parts of the city called hora Finfinnee ("hot springs") in Oromo. Another Oromo name of the city is Sheger. Menelik, as initially a King of the Shewamarker province, had found Mount Entotomarker a useful base for military operations in the south of his realm, and in 1879 visited the reputed ruins of a medieval town, and an unfinished rock church that showed proof of an Ethiopian presence in the area prior to the campaigns of Ahmad Gragn. His interest in the area grew when his wife Taytu began work on a church on Entoto, and Menelik endowed a second church in the area.

However the immediate area did not encourage the founding of a town due to the lack of firewood and water, so settlement actually began in the valley south of the mountain in 1886. Initially, Taytu built a house for herself near the "Filwoha" hot mineral springs, where she and members of the Showan Royal Court liked to take mineral baths. Other nobility and their staffs and households settled the vicinity, and Menelik expanded his wife's house to become the Imperial Palace which remains the seat of government in Addis Ababa today. The name changed to Addis Ababa and became Ethiopia's capital when Menelik II became Emperor of Ethiopia. The town grew by leaps and bounds. One of Emperor Menelik's contributions that is still visible today is the planting of numerous eucalyptus trees along the city streets.

On 5 May 1936, Italianmarker troops occupied Addis Ababa during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, making it the capital of Italian East Africa from 1936 to 1941 after killing about a million Ethiopians with mustard gas. After the Italian army in Ethiopia was defeated by the British army and the Ethiopian patriot forces during the East African Campaign, Emperor Haile Selassie returned to Addis Ababa on 5 May 1941—five years to the very day after he had departed—and immediately began the work of re-establishing his capital.

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 United Nations Economic Commission for Africa also has its headquarters in Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa was also the site of the Council of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in 1965.

Was this the area of humankind’s origins?

Ethiopia has often been called the original home of humankind due to various humanoid fossil discoveries like the Australopithecine Lucy. North eastern Africa, and the Afarmarker region in particular was the central focus of these claims until recent DNA evidence suggested origins in south central Ethiopian regions like present-day Addis Ababa (Finfinee). After analysing the DNA of almost 1,000 people around the world, geneticists and other scientists claimed humans spread from what is now Addis Ababa 100,000 years ago. The research indicated that genetic diversity declines steadily the farther one's ancestors traveled from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Demographics

Based on the preliminary 2007 census results, Addis Ababa has a total population of 2,738,248, consisting of 1,304,518 men and 1,433,730 women. The city is fully urban, with no rural dwellers within the city's administrative boundaries. Addis Ababa contains 22.9% of all urban dwellers in Ethiopia. With an estimated area of , this chartered city has an estimated density of .

In the 1994 census, the population of Addis Ababa was reported to be 2.3 million of which 28,149 lived in the rural parts of the city. 51.6% were female, while 48.4% were male.

All the Ethiopian ethnic groups are represented in Addis Ababa due to its position as capital of the country. This ethnic blend gives the city a diversity of culture making the capital even more attractive. The major ethnic groups and the smaller ones live side by side with no recorded interethnic tensions.

74.7% of the population are Oriental Orthodox Christians, 16.2% Muslim, 7.8% Protestants, 0.5% Catholics, while the remaining 0.8% are followers of other faiths (e.g. Hindus, Jews, Bahá'ís, agnostics, etc.).

Climate

Addis Ababa under the Koppen climate classification has a Subtropical highland climate. The city possesses a complex mix of highland climate zones, with temperature differences of up to 10 °C, depending on elevation and prevailing wind patterns. The high elevation moderates temperatures year-round, and the city's position near the equator means that temperatures are very constant from month to month.

Economy

Addis Ababa seen from SPOT satellite
The bustling centre of Addis Ababa
Street scene of taxis on Bole Road in Addis Abeba
Dembel Mall on Bole Road in Addis Abeba
The economic activities in Addis Ababa are diverse. According to official statistics from the federal government, some 119,197 people in the city are engaged in trade and commerce; 113,977 in manufacturing and industry; 80,391 homemakers of different variety; 71,186 in civil administration; 50,538 in transport and communication; 42,514 in education, health and social services; 32,685 in hotel and catering services; and 16,602 in agriculture. In addition to the residents of rural parts of Addis Ababa, the city dwellers also participate in animal husbandry and cultivation of gardens. Currently 677 hectares of land is irrigated annually, on which 129,880 quintals of vegetables are cultivated.

Many poor Ethiopians from the rural areas come to Addis Ababa as beggars and fill some of the streets. Recently, the number of beggars declined after a government and NGO attempt to move some of them and provide education and jobs. It is a relatively clean and safe city, with the most common crimes being pick pocketing, scams and minor burglary. The city has recently been in a construction boom with tall buildings rising in many places. Also, various luxury services have become available and the construction of shopping malls has recently increased. Some people have labeled the city, "the spa capital of Africa."

Government

Arkebe Oqubay was a Mayor of Addis Ababa, Ethiopiamarker. He held office from early 2003 to May 2005. On March 31, 2005, Arkebe Oqubay was named "African Mayor of 2005" by Broadcasting Network of Africa. Mayor Oqubay lost the mayorship of Addis Ababa in May 2005 to Berhanu Nega, but after boycotting the parliament Berhanu Nega's C.U.D. or Kinijit party did not take control of the city government. The leaders of the CUD, his opposition party which swept the election in the capital, were later imprisoned and not permitted to assume control of the city. They were pardoned and released after two years in prison.

Though most of the CUD refused to join the parliament, factions of CUD and all the rest of opposition parties joined parliament in 2005. The government has appointed a provisional city government with Berhanu Deresa the acting Mayor.

Landmarks

Addis Ababa is the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union.The fossilized skeleton, and a plaster replica of the early hominid Lucy (known in Ethiopia as Dinkinesh) is preserved at the Ethiopian National Museum in Addis Ababa. Meskel Square is one of the noted squares in the city and is the site for the annual Meskel festival at the end of September annually when thousands gather in celebration.

The city is home to the Ethiopian National Library, the Ethiopian Ethnological Museum (and former palace), the Addis Ababa Museum, the Ethiopian Natural History Museum, the Ethiopian Railway Museum and the National Postal Museum.

Notable buildings include St George's Cathedralmarker (founded in 1896 and also home to a museum), Holy Trinity Cathedralmarker (once the largest Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral and the location of Sylvia Pankhurst's tomb) as well as the burial place of Emperor Haile Selassie and the Imperial family, and those who fought the Italians during the war. There is also Menelik's old Imperial palace which remains the official seat of government, and the National Palace formerly known as the Jubilee Palace (built to mark Emperor Haile Selassie's Silver Jubilee in 1955) which is the residence of the President of Ethiopia.

The Hager Fikir Theatremarker, the oldest theatre in Ethiopia, is located at the Piazza district. Africa Hall is located across Menelik II avenue from this Palace and is where the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa is headquartered as well as most UN offices in Ethiopia. It is also the site of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which eventually became the African Union.

Near Holy Trinity Cathedral is the Parliament building, built during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, with its clock tower. It continues to serve as the seat of Parliament today. Across from the Parliament is the Shengo Hall, built by the Derg regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam as its new parliament hall. The Shengo Hall was the world's largest pre-fabricated building, which was constructed in Finlandmarker before being assembled in Addis Ababa. It is used for large meetings and conventions.

In the Merkato district, which happens to be the largest open market in Africa, is the impressive Anwar Mosque, the biggest mosque in Ethiopia. Few meters to the southwest of the Anwar Mosque is the Raguel Church. The Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family is also in the Merkato district. Near Bole International Airportmarker is the new Medhane Alem (Savior of the World) Cathedral, which is the second largest in Africa.

Hager Fikir Theatre Addis Ababa (April 2006)
Other features of the city include the large Merkatomarker market, the Jan Meda Race Ground racecourse, Bihere Tsige Recreation Centre and a railway line to Djiboutimarker. Sport facilities include Addis Ababamarker and Nyala Stadiums. The 2008 African Championships in Athletics were held in Addis Ababa.The Entoto Mountains start among the northern suburbs. Suburbs of the city include Shiro Meda and Entoto in the north, Urael and Bole (home to Bole International Airport) in the east, Nifas Silk in the south-east, Mekanisa in the south, and Keraniyo and Kolfe in the west.

The city hosts the We Are the Future center, a child care center that provides children with a higher standard of living. The center is managed under the direction of the mayor’s office, and the international NGO Glocal Forum serves as the fundraiser and program planner and coordinator for the WAF child center in each city. Each WAF city is linked to several peer cities and public and private partners to create a unique international coalition.Launched in 2004, the program is the result of a strategic partnership between the Glocal Forum, the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation and Mr. Hani Masri, with the support of the World Bank, UN agencies and major companies.

Education

Addis Ababa University was founded in 1950 and was originally named "University College of Addis Ababa", then renamed in 1962 for the former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I who had donated his Genete Leul Palace to be the University main campus in the previous year. It received its current name in 1975. Although the university has six of its seven campuses within Addis Ababa (the seventh is located in Debre Zeit, about away), it also maintains branches in many cities throughout Ethiopia. It is the home of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies and the Ethnological Museum. The city also has numerous private colleges including Admas College, Ethiopian Civil Service College and Unity University.

Transportation

The distinctive Addis Ababa blue taxis


Public transportation is through public buses from Anbessa City Bus Service Enterprise or blue and white share taxis. The taxis are usually minibuses that can seat at least twelve people. Two people are responsible for each taxi, the driver and a weyala who collects fares and calls out the taxi's destination.

The city is served by Bole International Airportmarker, where a new terminal opened in 2003. The old Lideta Airport in the western "Old Airport" district is used mostly by small craft and military planes and helicopters. Addis Ababa also has a railway connection with Djibouti City, with a picturesque French style railway station...

Intercity bus service is provided by the Selam Bus Line Share Company.

Sister cities



Notable people



See also



Notes

  1. African tribe from Ethiopia populated rest of the world
  2. FDRE States: Basic Information - Addis Ababa (accessed 30 July 2007)
  3. Overseas Security Advisory Council - Ethiopia 2007 Crime and Safety Report
  4. Addis Ababa the spa capital of Africa


References



External links

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