From Kaiserreich


Addis-Ababa in the 1920s

Addis-Ababa (sometimes spelled Addis-Abeba, the spelling used by the official Abyssinian Mapping Authority; Amharic, Adis Abäba "new flower") is the capital and the biggest city of Abyssinia.


Addis-Ababa lies at the foot of Mount Entoto and was founded by the Abyssinian emperor Menelik II in 1886, in a site chosen by his wife, Empress Taytu Betul. The name of the city was taken from parts of the city called hora Finfinnee ("hot springs") in Oromo. Another Oromo name of the city is Sheger. Menelik, as initially a King of the Shewa province, had found Mount Entoto a useful base for military operations in the south of his realm, and in 1879 visited the reputed ruins of a medieval town, and an unfinished rock church that showed proof of an Abyssinian presence in the area prior to the campaigns of Ahmad Gragn. His interest in the area grew when his wife Taytu began work on a church on Entoto, and Menelik endowed a second church in the area. However the immediate area did not encourage the founding of a town due to the lack of firewood and water, so settlement actually began in the valley south of the mountain only in 1886. Initially, Taytu built a house for herself near the "Filwoha" hot mineral springs, where she and members of the Showan Royal Court liked to take mineral baths. Other nobility and their staffs and households settled the vicinity, and Menelik expanded his wife's house to become the Imperial Palace which remains the seat of government in Addis-Ababa today. The name changed to Addis-Ababa and became Abyssinia's capital when Menelik II became Emperor of Abyssinia. The town grew by leaps and bounds and one of Emperor Menelik's contributions that is still visible today is the planting of numerous eucalyptus trees along the city streets.

The successor of Menelik II, Iyasu V, didn't like Addis-Ababa and was often absent from the capital for long periods of time. According to many, this contributed to his deposition in 1916 as his ministers were left free to plot against him. His successor, Empress Zauditu, was a very religious woman and ordered the construction of churches all over the country and especially in Addis-Ababa, where she lived. Her successor and current Emperor, Haile Selassie I, encouraged the expansion and modernization of the city with the constructions of schools and hospitals.


The city possesses a complex mix of highland climate zones, with temperature differences of up to 10°C, depending on elevation and prevailing wind patterns. The high elevation moderates temperatures year-round, and the city's position near the equator means that temperatures are very constant from month to month.

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