Eritrea Things to Do Tips by Saagar Top 5 Page for this destination
Eritrea Things to Do: 14 reviews and 14 photos
Lively Keren market
I went to Keren's market and found it very lively and good. The jewelry part (silver, mostly) was probably along the line of what a tourist could be looking for. For myself I bought Barka sandals (see separate tip).
Address: Keren city center.
Good coffee in Eritrea
Coffee is a material cultural icon of Eritrea. You will find very well prepared coffee of different varieties learnt from long times past (local brews) and from the Italians. I learnt to like macchiato here...
In the back streets beyond and to the side of the Liberation Avenue are several small coffee shops where they sell the beans and will also grind them for you. The smell - even if you are not a coffee lover - is just fantastic. You may learn to like coffee here!
Then came the EriEthi conflict of 2000, and all coffee import from Ethiopia stopped. This was nearly seen as a catastrophe in its own right, but then Yemeni coffee was imported and things got even better, albeit pricier. Yemen wouldn't import the bottom-of-the-bag coffee that Eritrea originally imported from Ethiopia, having only limited production herself. Thus, excellent coffe came to the Asmara coffee tables after that, and people bit into the bill and smiled over the coffee...
Zig-zagging down from Asmara along the main road
The railway network in Eritrea doesn't really exist... but there was one and there is a reconstructed line. Here's the story:
Asmara is nearly 2400 meters up in the air and with the port city of Massawa with its export-import facilities one big steep slope away. The Italian colonial masters completed a railway line here, zig-zagging the mountain in 1911. Later, it was extended to Agordat and completed in 1928. The Ethiopians shut down the railway in 1975 due to difficulties in running it with the Eritrean sabotage and attacks and repair cost soaring.
After the liberation war the Eritreans have revered their toy-train railway as some kind of national icon and treasure and have proceeded to reconstruct the stretch Massawa-Asmara. It was again operational in 2003.
There is no regular schedule, but charters and the occasional sightseeing and transport down and up.
The locomotives are 70-year old Italian steam engines, some old diesels and nearly 100 year-old passenger cars.
The way to find out if there is a train running is probably to go the Asmara train yard or to any tourist and travel agent in Massawa and Asmara.
Other Contact: Any Asmara tourist office
Abandoned tanks dot the landscape
NB - draft stage!!!!
Ethiopia/Haile Selassie: belongs to Ethiopia from times of Queen of Sheeba
Post 2nd ww federation w Ethiopia
60' Italians in 40'ies, a degree of industrialisation, British invasion and mandate
UN Commission: sea access for Ethiopia,
federation 1952, and annexation 1962.
ELF formed in '61 in opposition to federation and ethiopian dominance
EPLF split with ELF in 1970, joint fight
US support to Selassie until 74, soviet bloc assistance from '74 when the derg took over
ELF EPLF ERA
Went from guerilla to army by capturing field guns etc.
Post-liberation continued struggle
In Asmara, close to the city centre there is a factory yard where all sorts of scrap metal arrives and gets recycled. The innovativeness here is just fabulous, and should serve as a reminder to the rest of the world of how to take care of scarce resources.
Ask some locals to take you there and see it.
There may be something to buy also, made from scrap metal. However, the scrap generally goes into small-scale metal implements production, not exactly for tourists.
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