"Asmara - City of Surprises" Top 5 Page for this destination Asmara by janiebaxter
Asmara Travel Guide: 88 reviews and 477 photos
Asmara is on the Eastern edge of Eritrea's highland plateau and has a great climate, clean and attractive streets and a reputation as one of Africa's safest cities.
The city started as 4 villages and was called Arbate Esmere. It grew because of the abundance of fresh water and was used by travellers as a stopover between the sea and the mountains. Eventually it became important as a trading post and when the Italians colonised Ethiopia they invested a lot in Asmara, leaving a legacy of art deco buildings as well as the old steam railway which runs between Massawa and Asmara.
After Italy's defeat in World War 2 Eritrea struggled to keep itself afloat economically so the United Nations decided in 1950 that it would be better off being Ethiopia's 14th province - a move that Eritrea has spent the last 50 years fighting against.
The conflict with Ethiopia finally ended in 2000 and it is easy to see why Eritrea wanted independance as the 2 countries are so different, both religiously and culturally.
There is plenty to see in Asmara and the surrounding areas, and it is a very pleasant city to stroll around and explore, with the faded art deco architecture and the cafes to stop for an expresso
The Fiat building is just one of the many Art Deco duildings around the city. Some, like this one, are in a good state of repair while others are sadly in need of restoration. The are many modern buildings too as well as the much older churches and the cathedral.
The market in Asmara is worth a visit to see the food and the spice stalls, as well as the colourful fabrics.
Other places of interest include the mosque and the cathedral but the most interesting and unusual places I saw were the Tank Cemetery and the Recycling Yard
- Pros:Clean, easy to get around, lots to see
- Cons:Lacks the edge and grittiness og other African cities
- In a nutshell:An African city that isn't African
The outdoor spice market sells all kind of spices, stacked in big sacks on the stalls. The smell is fabulous, and they... more travel advice
This is the nicest hotel in Asmara, and has everything the business traveller or tourist could want. The manager,... more travel advice
janiebaxter's Related Pages
Asmara Travel Guide
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Latest: Apr 6, 2013