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Old Vehicles Armor Unfolded Tourism Treasures of Eritrea

The FIAT tagliero service station, Asmara, Eritrea, 1966

Old Vehicles Armor Unfolded Tourism Treasures of Eritrea

By Yosief Abraham Z

One of the finest Futurist stylist icons in the world, the Asmara Fiat Tagliero building was a former FIAT (Italian: Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) garage. Being one of the earliest modern garages, the Alfa Romeo branch in the Capital city has also been narrating the profile of Asmara’s credit in vehicles chronicles. With undeniable name in rallying, Lancia has its backdating history that engulfs vehicles aficionados to its foundation year, 1906. All this is in Asmara.

Headquartered at 8 Place de la Concorde, Paris, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) consists of 213 national member organizations in 125 countries worldwide. And from all, except the Eritrean National Federation Motor Racing, all others have been shifting their racing vehicles landscapes into formula one, rally and alternative energies car patterns.

The chapter of Asmara is, however, different. Among the ply of cars that sweeps Asmara’s city’s vistas, one visitor directly come into contact with classic old vehicles. Forget the modern taxi and Toyota families that have been annihilating those old vehicles. There are the 1938 Volkswagen Beetle (Type-1) cars still reserved their appearances on the streets of Asmara. Those types of vehicles were awarded fourth rank in 1999 as ‘one of the most influential car of the 20th century’ of the earth planet.

And to magnetize old vehicles enthusiasts, Car and Motor racing which were held on 3 September of 2017 in Keren, Eritrea, has also mounted the country’s treasure in vehicle tourisms. Those skilled drivers, including to Eritrean large trucks professionals in the Middle East and Gulf States, came to take their first lessons with Fiat 600 (Fiat Seicento), still learners’ vehicle.

Measuring only 3.22 m, Fiat 600 joined the line of production in 1955 and continued till 1969 only. Pacing to Tsetserat in early morning hours gives you an opportunity to see kaleidoscopic patterns of those old vehicles. Still active, car driving students have to drive them successfully those to guarantee their eligibility for holding 2nd level driving license. When in 2011 UK eliminated these models of cars and has allowed only 65 legal to exist on its roads, but Eritrea, yet, has more.

With appreciative skills of Eritrean garage professionals, Eritrea’s Car and Motor Bike Racing Federation has testified the health of various car models, embracing Fiat 124, a vehicle pattern that won the 1967 ‘European Car of the Year.’ Accordingly, this enhances vehicles tourism opportunities in the country.

AMAC archives ascertain that while the world was deeply engulfed by the 1929s Great Depression, Asmara was booming to credited urbanizations landscape. Thus, from the first ‘Fiat Zero’ model of cars in 1920s until Lada’s empire in 1991, all models of cars have been testimony of how this city was an epicenter of developmental efforts and an open museum for witnessing subsequent aftermaths of the political, colonial and economic matters of Eritrea.

By the same coin, when Yalta took the trophy from Asmara to host the ‘Big Three (Soviet Union, USA and the United Kingdom)’ conference in 1945, Asmara was chronicling significant vehicle production generations. Since then, Eritrea has categorized its open vehicles museum chronicles in four categories: 1912-1941, years of dominant Italian models and from Fiat 2B till Fiat 514 then started reserving their presences.

The arrival of the British till 1965, and from the same year again till 1979 is also other extra years for Eritrea’s mobility historical archives. And under the auspice of Ethiopia’s military junta, the Dergue, LADA were the brands Asmara has started to witness. And when the communist union of Soviet collapsed under its weight in 1991, Eritrea also signaled a new era on May 24 of 1991. And with testimonies of the involvement of the Red Mafia, Russia’s LADA were dominant vehicles Asmara has back then.

And will all those, AMAC states ‘…Eritrea is an open museum of old vehicles that ties the complexities of colonialism, urbanization and history. This makes it so exotic tourism hub.’ Of course, that is the fact.
*Excerpted from a documentary script by the writer ‘Asmara: Open Museum of Old Vehicles.

Yosief Abraham Z is a freelance journalist and Executive Director of HorMid Media and Art Center. You can contact him at

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Old Vehicles Armor Unfolded Tourism Treasures of Eritrea Reviewed by Admin on 12:30 AM Rating: 5

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