Addis Ababa, the vibrant Capital of modern Ethiopia&Africa, and gateway for most tourists, is the political and commercial heart of the Country. Now a city of 5 million people, it was founded by Emperor Menelik in 1887.
Addis Ababa is the country’s commercial, manufacturing, and cultural centre. It is the focus of a highway network, the site of an international airport, and the terminus of a railroad to the Gulf of Aden port of Djibouti.
In the city there are printing industries, and manufactures include footwear, clothing, asbestos and metal products, processed foods, cement, and plywood. Flourishing handicraft industries produce leather, metal, and textile goods, which are traded along with the regional agricultural produce, such as coffee, tobacco, and dairy items, in the vast open-air market known as the Mercato, on the W side of the city.
Addis Ababa is a sprawling city, well wooded, especially with eucalyptus trees, and crossed by broad avenues. Modern, multi-storeyed buildings sit side by side with traditional one- and two story structures and open spaces. Its high elevation gives the city a mild, pleasant climate. The city is the seat of Addis Ababa University (1950), schools of music and art, and several research institutes. As headquarters of the Organization of African Unity and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the city is the scene of many international conferences. Of note in the city are the octagon-shaped Saint George Coptic Christian Cathedral (1896), the modern Africa Hall with its dramatic stained-glass windows, and the Menelik II Palace, as well as several museums with collections of art, ethnology, and archaeology.