Addis Ababa: Esubalew Meaza’s New Photo Book Explores Ethiopia’s Capital

Photos from the book "Addis Ababa: The New Flower of Africa" by Esubalew Meaza. (Courtesy of the author)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, August 24th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Esubalew Meaza, the author of Inspiring Journey (2012) and his latest photo book Addis Ababa: The New Flower of Africa (2015), is scheduled to make a presentation at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. on September 24th discussing his travels through Ethiopia.

After many years residing abroad, amateur photographer Esubalew returned to Ethiopia, and his rediscovery of Addis Ababa — the place where he was born and raised — led him to his most recent project, which he calls “a labor of love.”

“When I went abroad, my experience and knowledge of my homeland could only be described as embryonic,” writes Esubalew, who currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia and works for the U.S. Department of Defense in Information Technology, a field that he has been practicing since 1996.

Esubalew’s latest book Addis Ababa is a beautifully organized collection of both original and archival photographs combined with historical and statistical data gathered from various sources including the Ethiopian Mapping Agency, the city government of Addis Ababa, and the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

“It was a hobby with determination” Esubalew said regarding his photo book in an interview with Tadias. “People often joke that there is nothing to see in Addis except at night.” Esu added: “My book proves that’s not the case.”

Indeed his book highlights Addis Ababa’s hidden treasures including the city’s monuments, museums, parks and religious sites. Esubalew also includes maps and population data for each of Addis Ababa’s ten sub-cities whose combined population number exceeds three million: Addis Ketema (271,644), Akaki Kaliti (195,273), Arada (225,999), Bole (328,900), Gulele (284,865), Kirkos (235,441), Kolfe Keranyo (546,219), Lideta (214,769), Nefas Silk Lafto (335,740), Yeka (314,000).

Image from page 10 the book “Addis Ababa: the new flower of Africa” (Photograph: Courtesy of the author)

In his review of Addis Ababa Zewde Retta, former Ethiopian Ambassador to Italy and Tunisia (from 1972 to 1975) who is also an author, historian and journalist, says Esubalew’s book is a “lively, insightful and comprehensive representation of the city of Addis Ababa and Ethiopia’s diverse tourist attractions. The author showcases the culture, history, landscape and people of Ethiopia through infectious enthusiasm, clarity, and style.”

Hapte-Selassie Tafesse, the ‘Father of Ethiopian Tourism,’ adds that the book is a “faithful rendering of our country’s cultural and physical features.” While Abebe Worku, who served as Ethiopia’s Tourism Commissioner from 1979 to 1982 states that the book’s “descriptions are all personal and all first-hand. The result is a very impressive piece of work.”

Some of the photographed locations include the National Palace, St. Mary of Entoto church, Saint Raguel and Selassie churches, Legehar train terminal, the post office, the National Museum of Ethiopia, the Netsa Art Village in Ferensay Park near the French Embassy, a statue of marathon legend Abebe Bikila at Saint Joseph’s cemetery and the iconic Taitu Hotel, which earlier this year was badly damaged by fire. Esubalew said he was in Ethiopia during the tragic incident last January and had a chance to document the aftermath, but he said it was too late to include it in the book. “It was a sad day in Addis,” he said. “People felt as if their own house had burned down.”

Photograph of Taitu hotel from the book “Addis Ababa” by Esubalew Meaza. (Courtesy of the author)

“I traveled throughout Ethiopia, and I noticed that, in addition to their diverse culture and rich history, the people of Ethiopia unite through their own long-held, common values,” Esubalew wrote in his introduction of Addis Ababa. “My study of Ethiopia…informed me about events I had once dismissed as irrelevant, by exposing me to new ways of looking at the human spirit.”

If You Go:
The Library of Congress
Presentation by Esubalew Meaza
Thursday, September 24, 2015
12 noon – 1:00 p.m.
African and Middle Eastern Division
Thomas Jefferson Building, LJ 220
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington D.C. 20540
Free and open to the public
202-707-4163 OR EMAIL:
Request ADA accommodation 5 days in advance @202-707-6362
Following the power-point presentation: A book signing session and a modest reception will be severed in the AMED conference room.

A separate, but official book launch event hosted by Meshcart will take place on September 18, 2015 at 901 S Highland St Arlington, VA 22204. More info at

‘Ethiopia: Inspiring Journey’ A Coffee Table Book by Esubalew Meaza

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