Sights in Asmara

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Italian architecture prevails in the center city. The main avenues are shaded by palm and other trees. Bougainvillea flowers are everywhere. Both the top floor of Nyala hotel and the Cherhi bar offer vistas of the city.

Liberation Avenue is the center of city life. It extends from Government Administrative Center eastward to September First Stadium. Asmara Theater (built in 1918), the City Administration, the Ministry of Education, the Supreme Court, the Catholic Cathedral; and the Central Bank are all on Liberation Avenue. In the late afternoon and early evenings, Asmara residents stroll up and down the avenue to meet their friends and enjoy coffee, tea, fruits drinks and pastries at one of the bars and coffee shops.

There are many beautiful churches and mosques in Asmara. The Catholic Cathedral on Liberation Avenue was constructed in Lombard style in 1922. The main mosque, Khulafa el Rashidin, was built in 1937 with Dekemhare travertine and Carrara marble. Inda Mariam, the main Orthodox church, was built between 1917 and 1920. Both Khulafa el Rashidin and Inda Mariam are a few blocks northeast of the Catholic Cathedral.

The former Ghibi or palace, residence of various colonial rulers, is across from the Government Administrative Center at the western end of Liberation Avenue. Reopened as the National Museum after Eritrea was liberated in May 1991, it was built by Ferdinado Martini, the first Italian civil administrator, in 1897. For a brief period in the 1940s it was an English school.The museum has sections on art, culture and the independence struggle as well as a lovely garden.

The extensive central market, north of the Catholic Cathedral, is worth visiting. There are stalls grouped in sections for grain, vegetables, spices, used parts, used furniture and clothing, baskets, pottery, crafts carved from wood, and textiles and clothing among other things. Gold and silver jewelry can be found in the streets between the main mosque and the Government Administration Center.

Other point of interest are Asmara University and the Mai Jahjah fountain. At the edge of town on the road to Dekemhare and Massawa, there is a British cemetery and what remains of the zoo which was run down during the war.

February 28, 2005 change by giorgio (1 point)

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