North America
Central America
South America
Middle East

Asmara: Why It Stands Apart



Asmara is the capital of Eritrea, a city that was established more than 700 years ago. There were four clans living around the area who used to be attacked by bandits. They were the Gheza Asmae, Gheza Serenser, Gheza Shelele and Gheza Gurtom. Upon the persuasion of their women, the men from the four clans joined forces to fight the marauding bandits. After defeating the bandits, the clans renamed the place to ‘Arbaete Asmara’, which means ‘the four are united’ in the local Tigrinya language. Over the years, the place became known simply as Asmara although there is a section that is still called ‘Arbaete Asmara’.

In spite of the fact that the city experienced deterioration during the 30 years of Ethiopian occupation, it still retained much of its charm, which the government has taken measures to restore. The city enjoys an environment that is relatively free of crime and the locals are generally quite hospitable. Besides the genial nature of the locals, you will have the opportunity to see special architectural styles in the city. Although Asmara is a very modern city, the buildings still have a great touch of the past, which makes it a special model Art Deco town.

The popular tourist attractions in Asmara comprise ancient, cultural and scenic sites that the idyllic atmosphere complements well. There are many sightseeing tours both within the city itself and its environs. There are different types of tours that cater to the needs and preferences of different people, ranging from economy tours to luxury ones.

The following are some of the things that make this city attractive.

Nda Mariam Orthodox Church

Both pilgrims and tourists grace this religious site all the year round. It is dedicated to St. Mary. The main building has three huge elements and an attractive tower, from where you will have some of the best views of the surroundings. There are special church bells at the entrance of the church.

Cathedral of Asmara

Situated at the center of the city, the building is constructed in the Lombard-Romanesque architectural style. Its great tower rises to a height of 57 meters. The cathedral, which was consecrated in 1992, has a campus that is composed of a monastery and a primary school.

National Museum

The National Museum is among the major museums in the whole country. You will find relics of cultural and historic interest here, some of which are many centuries old. You can easily reach the museum from nearly every part of the city.

Cinema Impero

Located along Harnet Avenue, this building features an Art Deco façade with porthole lamps that resemble giant radio knobs. The lobby is made of original chrome, marble and glass. Other attractive buildings are Cinema Roma and Cinema Odeon.

There are many Italian colonial mansions and villas in the city. The Italians are responsible for building most of the city, as a large part of the central section was built from 1935 to 1941. The city retains a great Italian touch that prompts people to refer to it as New Rome.



Related Guides
Guides from Richard L.


There are no comments for this travel guide. Add your comment!