Addis Ababa is like an onion, full of layers waiting to be peeled back. When you’re not seeking out museums or palaces, you’d do well to treat your taste buds in a city which serves up all kinds of Ethiopian fare.

By Sonia Nazareth (The National)

Why Addis Ababa?

Travelers frequently use Addis Ababa, the sprawling capital, as no more than a glorified pit stop from which to enter Ethiopia, before swiftly moving on to explore the treasures in the rest of the country. But spend a few days in Africa’s diplomatic center, and you’ll discover that the city is deserving of its own attention. Culture abounds here and there are a cluster of intriguing museums and monuments which provide context to any traveler’s journey through the country.

The Ethnographic Museum, housed in the former palace of Haile Selassie, has well-­curated exhibits which take you through aspects of Ethiopia’s varied social and cultural history. If you ever wanted to gain deeper insight into the lives of the more than 80 ethnic groups that live in Ethiopia, the ingeniously arranged artefacts and texts, provide a wealth of information. A short drive away, the National Museum commands as much attention. It’s home to everyone’s Aunt Lucy, standing in the middle of an intriguing paleontological exhibition. This fossilized hominid, a celebrity now in her own right, is claimed to be one of humanity’s oldest ancestors.

Addis is like an onion, full of layers waiting to be peeled back. When you’re not seeking out museums or palaces, you’d do well to treat your taste buds in a city which serves up all kinds of Ethiopian fare. However, the intangible offering from the city is the chance to feel the energy of a place that hasn’t yet quite arrived. The city is full of young entrepreneurs and is home to many artisans producing endlessly fascinating offerings.

A comfortable bed

Even without the endorsement of the celebrity clientele who flock to the Sheraton Addis; doubles from Dh1,010 per night), it’s easy to see the hotel’s appeal. The building sits like a jewel amid well-­tended gardens.

Continue reading this story at The National
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