With new modern architecture and an ancient history, Addis Ababa offers a rich cosmopolitan atmosphere. Ethiopia has often been called the original home of mankind due to the various fossil discoveries in the northeastern Afar region, but more recently scientists claim the land of what is now the city of Addis Ababa as the cradle of mankind.
In the 1870's, Menilik II moved ever southwards until he reached the Entoto mountain, where he set up a milltary camp. Strategically it was a strong position, but after some years Menilik II decided he no longer had any need for such an exposed position.
He moved a few kilometers down the southern slopes of Entoto Mountain to establish the present Ethiopian capital, which his wife Empress Taytu named Addis Ababa (New Flower). It was formally established in 1886.
Addis Ababa is currently a major hub for many local and international organizations, including the African Union, the United Nations branch office, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Africa Hall, and more than eighty foreign embassies and consultants.
One can also visit Merkato (the biggest open air market in Africa), Mount Entoto, the National Museum (where Lucy's remains rest), and many statues and monuments.
The city has a flourishing cultural life with regular exhibitions, lectures and opportunities for music and dance. Ethiopia also offers the wonderful culinary delights of injera, a large pancake-like crepe that forms the base of most Ethiopian meals, and tej, the distinctive Ethiopian traditional honey wine.
At an altitude of 2,500 meters, Addis Ababa is the 3rd highest capital city in the world after Lapaz and Quito in Latin America.