Best things to do in Eritrea
Find out more about those top places in Eritrea
Asmara is the commercial capital of Eritrea and also stands as the busiest city in the country due to the flurry of activities that goes daily - it can be regarded as one of the most vibrant cites in East Africa.
The city serves a couple of functions being the nation’s Administrative and religious center – it home to most of the official government offices and the largest mosque in the country. Surrounded by several restaurants and hangout spots there is hardly a dull moment in Asmara. Other things to look forward to do in Eritrea’s capital include monuments and war sites.
Located at the Shida Square is the huge Sandal monument. It is dedicated to the nation’s soldiers who defeated the Ethiopians in the Eritrean-Ethiopian war which lasted for several years. The story behind the Sandal monument is that the Eritrean soldiers opted to wear sandals rather than customary war boots – they proved more functional and it is said to be a major part in winning the war for freedom.
Officially known as the Al-Khulafa Al-Rahidun mosque (means “followers of the right path”), it is one of many Islamic centers of Asmara but easily identifiable as the most sacred of all. Built in 1938 on the initiative of Benito Mussolini who presented it as a gift to the nation’s. The mosque was designed by Italian architect Guido Ferrazza – it has a blend of rationalist, Islamic and classical style.
The Tank Graveyard is one of Asmara most famous places, doubling as a junkyard and a memorial to the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Filled with military vehicles drag from all over the country, most of its collections were gotten from the fleeing Ethiopian forces who abandoned their therm in retreat – they include rusted tanks, ammunition, truck metal plates. You might also find animal bones littered across the place because it was one used as a slaughtering place for holiday feasts. Although visiting the Tank Graveyard is free, visitors need to obtain a permit at the ministry of tourism office.
Just like their Ethiopian neighbors, the coffee ceremony is one of the special traditions of the Eritrean people. With great similarities in the production and serving process, the ceremony is performed by the woman of the household and is done following traditional methods passed down through centuries. It is considered a great honor to be invited for a coffee ceremony and a show of hospitality.
There are two major celebrations you don’t want to miss out on while visiting Asmara – the Meskel Festival and Epiphany festival. The Meskel festival is celebrated on the 26th of September and commemorates the discovery of the cross which Jesus Christ was crucified by Roman Empress Helena. While the Epiphany which is similar to the Timkat Ethiopian celebration holds on the early days of January.