Addis Ababa means ‘new flower’ in Amharic. It lies at the foot of the Entoto mountains, with views across to Mount Zuquala, Mount Yerer and Mount Fury.
Empress Taitu, wife of Menelik II chose the site of the city for its proximity to natural hot springs. Their interest in the area began when the emperor conducted military operations in the Entotos, and visited the ruins of a medieval town there, including the ancient rock church, Washa Mikael.
However, there was little firewood or water in the area, so a town was not immediately founded. Instead, in 1886 a settlement grew up at the base of the hill, in the valley where the empress liked to take hot springs, known as “Filwoha”. The settlement grew, and it is today, as then, the seat of the Ethiopia government. At current reckoning it has a population of nearly 3.5 million people.
Nowadays, you can see Menelik’s legacy in the forests of eucalyptus trees that grow all over Ethiopia.