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Addis Merkato (Amharic for "New Market", popularly just Merkato or Mercato, from the Italian for "market") is the name for the large open-air marketplace in the Addis Ketema district of Addis Ababamarker, Ethiopiamarker, and for the neighborhood in which it is located.

Merkato is the largest open air market in Africa, covering several square miles and employing an estimated 13,000 people in 7,100 business entities. The primary merchandise passing through the Merkato is locally-grown agricultural products — most notably coffee.

The Addis Merkato was instituted by segregationist policies of the Italian occupational government. They restricted the historic St. George Merkato to Europeans, causing the mostly Arab tradesmen to relocate a half mile to the west. Over time, local shopkeepers displaced the Arab merchants and, since the 1960s, the Addis Merkato has had a mostly local flavor.

The Addis Merkato has over 120 stores and one massive shoppingcenter who has 75 stores.

Notable landmarks near the Merkato include the Al-Anwar Mosque and the Cathedral of the Holy Family.


  • Zewde, Bahru. (1991) A History of Modern Ethiopia. London: James Currey.
  • Bonsor, Sacha. (2005) " Merkato Mania" Impressions Magazine. British Airways. (accessed March 8, 2006)

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