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Names of Asmara Streets During Italian Rule

Harnet (Liberation) Ave.


NAMES OF ASMARA STREETS DURING ITALIAN RULE

To cultured Italians Asmara was secondo Roma, to native Eritreans a holy city (ማርያም ኣስመረይቲ), to our neighbors in the South a romantic city, and to Americans a dream metropolis. However, to those our forefathers who tasted a bitter cup of colonialism, Asmara was a segregated city amid the land of noble and militant people. However, if  we examine the structure of the city including its living quarters, we can tell that there was an invisible and subtle segregation even among colonial settlers. This is true when an apartheid in Eritrean contest associated with living quarters such as the Italian quarter (ገዛ ባንዳ ጥልያን), and the native quarter (ገዛ ባንዳ ሓበሻ). 

Take a look at the well-built and classical mansions which are located around Principe (Italian Middle School) or around Hamasien and Embasoira hotels. Most of them were the residences of upper class Italians and businessmen. They are within the walking distance from the cultural centers chiefly the Cinema Asmara which ones known as Opera House available for privileged few including the Gothic Cathedral along with exclusive clubs for men-in-uniform and business class. Their recreation centers within the city limit was at Campopollo  aria where the horse race (pollo), and pigeon shooting (tiro al piccione) were frequent sports. Most of their exclusive schools such as Michelangelo Bonaroti Elementary School , Prinicipe Middle School, and Botego School of Engineering including the Art School were and still are located around their residential area. The academic and high-tech institutions reflected their social taste within a class conscious society such as the Romans. Their dancing hall (lageto) was located at the outskirt of Asmara or along Massawa road where they were enjoying aSaturday evening Ball including a game at a nearby tennis court. 

However, the common Italians most of whom laborers and soldiers were living at Geza Banda Tlyan with their separate churches, schools, cinemas including soccer fields such as Cicero and Ferovia. From the perspective of our love for cycling, football and movie, we can tell how much the culture of under class  Italians left a deep mark in our national psyche. But not a reading culture as Alberto Moravia, the greatest Italian writer of the century put it: The working class Italians are not well adept to reading which is exclusively right for leisure class Italians, of course, the intelligentsia and power elite. If our forefathers had an opportunity to learn and read the great works of classical antiquity such as that of Dante, Cicero, Terence, Seneca, Machiaveli, Paretto, we would have been a different breed of generation. It is a lost opportunity based on human oppression indeed. With this in mind, we have to wake up with new spirit to acquire a never-ending knowledge which is highly facilitated  by state-of-art computer technology.

In this connection, the names of Asmara streets also reflected the social class of colonial masters. Street names associated with scientists, artists, military men, and leaders were to be found around these exclusive area of the notables. Those related to rivers along the native quarters, and those of cities, regions and private names in working class areas as the following denotes:- 

A. Around Shuq. 
    - Viale Milano (Godena Qedamwi Minelik starting from Geza kenisha all the way down to Mai Bella) 
    - Via Tevere ( Mengedi Akria or Edaga Arbi staring from Karsholi (Prison House).' 
    - Via Piave (Geza Birhanu Area) 
    - Via Adige. 
    - Via Brenta 
    - Via Po (River Po) 
    - Via Salso 

B. Caravanseraglio area (medeber) or ShuQ 
     - Via Bologna 
     - Via Venezia (The Merchant of Venice) 
     - Via Trieste 
     - Via Calighari 

C. mesgid Area 
     - Via Tienesai 
     - Via Saseno 
     - Viale Duca (Palaso Aba Habesh) 
     - Viale Massawa (Massawa Road) 
     - Viale Di Abruzzi ( Mai Chihot Raod) 

D. Around the Grand Mosque 
     - Via Toscana 
     - Via Zora 
     - Via Bordia 
     - Via Ventio 
     - Corso Del Re Imperatore (Godena Itege Taytu in the fornt of Mesgid or Italian Mercato-Inda Asa (fish) 
      
E. Around Cinema Dante 
     - Via Buria 
     -Via Valmazio 
     - Via Lazio 
     - Via Luciana 
     - Via Molise 

F. Around Combishtato (Godena Sematat or Harnet) 
     - Via Brichetti 
     - Via Sapeto (Jusepe Sapeto Italian Explorer) 
     - Via Stella (Who established the Italian schools in Eritrean including for natives in Massawa) 
     - Via Vidieto Croce (Educator in Eritrea) 
     - Via Cecchi (Statesman) 
     - Via Casabi 
     - Via Dietto (Artisan) 
     - Via G. Criacini 
     - Via Umberto (King of Italy before fascist era) 
     - Via Boccacio V., Micheal Angelo Bonaroti ( a poet and painter respectively) 
     - Viale Fernandini (First Governer of Eritrea) 
       - Via Salembeni ( A General who killed in the battle of Adwa) 
     - Forto Balidisera (A General who killed in the Battle of Adowa). Forto is at Seserat (Kagnew Station) where 
       the Eri-TV stationed. 
     - Viale Camice Nere ( Balila) 
     - Vialle della Vitoria 
     - Viale G. Marconi (Telephone Inventor) 
     - Via Albeto Liuzzi 
     - Via F. M. Morganttni 
     - Via p. Di Gregorio 
     - Via L. Zannoni 
     - Via Abibo. 

There were also many plazas and streets associated with the names of cities and commerative days such as Vialle 3 Ottobre, and Piazza 4 Novembre located inside the city. 

Some of these streets called after the names of royal family of Ethiopia including nobles and provinicial towns. Again some had been renamed during the Derg era. I didn't know how the names of these streets changed after liberation. Anyone can help? 

Haile 



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