Addis Ababa – Ethiopia, Africa
Addis Ababa (sometimes spelled Addis Abeba, the spelling used by the official Ethiopian Mapping Authority) is the capital city of Ethiopia. It is the largest city in Ethiopia, with a population of 3,384,569 according to the 2007 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 political 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. The Federation of African Societies of Chemistry (FASC) and Horn of Africa Press Institute (HAPI) are also headquartered in Addis Ababa.
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 was taken from parts of the city called hora Finfinnee in Oromo. Another Oromo name of the city is Sheger. Menelik, as initially a King of the Shewa province, had found Mount Entoto 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.
Addis Ababa lies at an altitude of 7,546 feet (2,300 metres) and is a grassland biome, located at 9°1′48″N 38°44′24″ECoordinates: 9°1′48″N 38°44′24″E. The city lies at the foot of Mount Entoto. From its lowest point, around Bole International Airport, at 2,326 metres (7,631 ft) above sea level in the southern periphery, the city rises to over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) in the Entoto Mountains to the north.
Addis Ababa 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.
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 most 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 construction of the Addis Ababa Ring Road was initiated in 1998 to implement the city master plan and enhance peripheral development. The Ring Road was divided into three major phases that connect all the five main gates in and out of Addis Ababa with all other Regions (Jimma, Debre Zeit, Asmara, Gojjam and Ambo). For this project, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) was the partner of Addis Ababa City Roads Authority (AACRA). The Ring Road has greatly helped to decongest and alleviate city car traffic.