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[Audio] Eritrea's Capital Asmara Hopes For Tourists


The lunch time rush is on at the Sweet Asmara Cafe. Three elderly men are debating loudly over hot sugary tea. At the next table, two young women indulge in treats from the sumptuous cake counter. The bar is done out in 1930's decor.

From the gleaming coffee machine, the barista, Sara, can quench your every caffeinated desire; dispensing cappuccinos, espressos, macchiatos.

"Eritreans do it as a culture because the Italians did the same thing before. That's why we use it until now."

Eritrea's former colonial rulers didn't just bequeath the fondness for strong coffee, chic bars and pasta, the architectural heritage of the Italians is visible all over town in Asmara.

"Asmara you see is full of different styles of architecture built during the Italian colonial period. They never thought they would leave Eritrea. So they were building Rome or something, like their own in very short time of 14 years."

Art deco, neoclassicism, novecento, fascist modernism, Asmara has it all, explains Kebre [inaudible]. He's an architect working for the Asmara Heritage Project.

From 1935 to 1941, thousands of buildings were constructed in the city. Most reflecting modernist styles and unique architectural ideas such as petrol stations mimicking aeroplanes and boats, cinemas with fine period plaster work and government buildings with monumental designs.

The town goes back more than 1200 years, but the colonial building boom of the 30's has made Asmara truly unique.

Dubbed "piccola Roma", Africa's little Rome, the city is making a bid for UNESCO world cultural heritage status.

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[Audio] Eritrea's Capital Asmara Hopes For Tourists Reviewed by Admin on 12:03 AM Rating: 5

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