The founders named it “the new flower” (Addis Ababa) after seeing a new flower at the site of hot springs. This was the main reason for King Menelik and his Queen consort Taitu to come down from the Entoto Hills in 1886 to the valley below. Addis is a big metropolis sprawled over an area of 21,000 hectares or about 250 sq. km. and had an estimated population of 2.2 million people in 1994 with projected estimates of over 3 million for 2008.

With an altitude ranging from 2200 to 2500 meters, it is the third highest capital in the world. Being in the tropics, this gives it an invigorating climate of almost permanent springtime. It has also been called “the city in the forest”, because of the extensive greenery, especially the omnipresent eucalyptus. Situated at 40 longitudes and 180 latitudes, the city has an annual average rainfall of 1,153 mm and an average temperature of 150C (600F).
After breakfast, visit the following sites based on your time and preferences.

The National Museum
The National Museum is the home of Lucy (Dinqnesh), probably the most famous hominid skeleton in the world. She is, at over three million years, one of the oldest hominids yet discovered. Ethiopian archaeologists have recently discovered even earlier fossils pushing back the origins of humankind even further, The museum also contains an interesting collection of archaeology and artifacts from Ethiopian history, arts and cultures.

Ethnographic Museum
Located in and operated by the Institute of Ethiopian Studies of the Addis Abeba University, this is Ethiopia’s first and only ethnological museum exhibiting the physical environment and traditional artifacts of all the major ethnic groups (including costumes, jewelry, traditional household goods, farming implements, military and hunting weapons, art, musical instruments, both Christian and Islamic parchment manuscripts and icons).

Africa Hall
Built and donated by the Ethiopian government, this is where the Organization of African Unity was founded in 1963. It is now the head-quarters of one of the UN’s six regional commissions and was established in 1958.

Trinity Cathedral
Trinity Cathedral is the most ornate example of modern urban cathedrals. Built in 1941, it was dedicated to and remains the special final resting-place of the nation’s heroes and distinguished civil servants. The paintings on the ceiling are by one of the country’s major modern living artists, Ale Felege Selam, who was also the founder of the Arts School.

Merkato
Merkato is not only Addis Abeba’s commercial center; it is the dynamo of the country’s development in trade and industry, and its real link to all the world’s business and industry. It is said that 60% of the country’s money supply is found inside Merkato at any given time. Unrivaled in Africa, Merkato is one of the largest open-air markets in the world. Although it operates throughout the week, Saturday morning is its busiest period, attracting around 50,000 buyers and sellers, both from the entire city and the surrounding countryside. When it comes to shopping, there is nothing in the world, they say, that one cannot find in Merkato. Here, bargaining is the rule.

Entoto, Mariam and Raguel (Elias) Churches.
In the extensive mountain range of Entoto, north of the city, was the original site of Menelik’s capital before he moved down to found present day Addis Abeba. All that remains now are some ruins and two ornate Churches of the time: Entoto Mariam where Menelik was crowned in 1882, and the unusually two-storeyed Entoto Raguel (Elias) somewhat reminiscent of traditional Chinese structures.