Ancient and Historical Sub-Saharan Africa

Addis Ababa Travel Blog

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Addis Ababa is home to Ethiopia's historic King Menelek and birth place to Haile Selassie.

I spent four days in Addis Ababa at the Hilton hotel with a friend. During this time, we toured a few places including the open markets, museums, cultural centers and enjoyed eating traditional foods. On one occasion we sat outside and people watched, it was interesting to pay attention to the women and how they behaved visa vie the men. Four of the memorable places we visited include the Ethiopian National Museum; the correct name is National Museum of Ethiopia, the Ethnological Museum, Patriarchate Museum and the open market place.

National Museum of Ethiopia is a great place to visit should you find yourself in Ethiopia. I did visit it with my friend Brendan who was then working in Addis Ababa. The museum has a unique collection of artifacts, history and much more, the downside is that everything is written in their language, very little in English. I hope the lighting in the museum has improved since I last visited.

Do not be discouraged by the lighting, the museum actually houses some of Sub Saharan Africa’s most valuable collections. The cast of Lucy the 3.2 million year old hominid discovered in 1974 is a highlight exhibit that you shall enjoy viewing. Well from what I understand, this exhibit is not of the original hominid, it is a replica. The original one was preserved and locked away in the archives of the museum. I’m sure if you are a documented paleontologist, perhaps you can get access to the original fossilized bones of Lucy, with good reason of course.

A lot many archeological finds like pots, bowls and statutes are also in the museum, earthenware that date back millions of years, back to the times of King Solomon and the Aksumite.

From here, you should visit the Ethnological Museum which is more visually stimulating. Check out my independent reviews on the Ethnological museum and the Ethiopian National Museum.

The Ethnological museum like ZI said above is much more stimulating visually. Located inside the former palace of Haile Selassie, the Ethiopian emperor the museum has the cultural history of the country from its birth. The body tradition exhibit took my fancy as it was interesting to see the transition through time. Another interesting section was that of the burial customs.

The second floor of the museum has the transition through musical instruments, and religious art exhibits.  A small section of emperor Selassie’s personal residence is accessible; the bedroom and bathroom. Both museums are part of the Ethiopian Cultural Heritage administration.

You will enjoy Addis once you get past the cultural shock many get when they land in any African country. Ethiopia in general has a rich history and traditions dating back millions of years. May say it is the land of the bible too; the old testament.

PS: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain 

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photo by: Aopaq