Home > City Journal, In Memoriam > A look at Entoto Maryam

A look at Entoto Maryam

Emperor Menelik II is regarded by many as one of the greatest Ethiopians of all time. He was often, simultaneously soldier, politician, king, raconteur and some-time brick-layer. This can be seen at the church of Maryam (St. Mary) on Entoto Mountain, in which he has taken part in the building work.
The great modernizer of Ethiopia Menelik was born on 17 August 1844 in Ankober. He would have turned 165 today. Befitting the occasion, this weekend I set out to explore Entoto Mariam Church, the Emperor Menelik and Empress Taitu Memorial museum and former palace located in the church’s very compound.
August 15 013
For anyone who wishes to trace Atse Menelik’s legacy, visiting the church is important as it was here that Menelik was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in November 1889, and his image hangs on its walls. The monarch himself personally played the leading role in establishing the church as part of his effort to build up his new capital Addis Ababa which in English meant New Flower. Today looking at it, the area’s image is partly defined by its past, the church’s and the palace’s buildings representing 125 years history.
Taxi is available to go Entoto Maryam and the road from Shiro Meda to Gusqaum and Entoto Maryam isn’t in bad shape. However, given the speed of change in other parts of the city, the area doesn’t seem to have changed much from the Emperor’s time. It is a sad, stagnant part of the city.
The outside building of the museum isn’t very attractive either and in fact it looks more like a conservation unit than a museum.It was only opened in 1987, yet looks old.
The inside is rich with the Emperor’s and his consort queen Empress Taitu’s furniture, items, photographs, textiles and even rifle used in the battle of Adwa.
The museum grants the visitor passage, as well, to an enchanting moment in a far-off place or time. Gifts, bequests, purchases, trades, and expeditions have filled this reservoir to the brim.
Among items of particular interest are mirror given by Queen Victoria for Empress Taitu in 1878, Dirsane Mikaele used by the Emperor Menelik, gold tainted clock given to Menelik from France, Icon of St. Mary given from the Russia, Negarit (communication drum) used to call for war, photographs of the Entoto Maryam church at the inauguration day, the Emperor’s bed used for relaxing, a fancy robe worn by the Menelik’s when he was crowned Emperor, an Indian made plate used for Holy communion.
August 15 033
A tomb inside the church
(Second part tomorrow)

  1. MM
    August 17, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks Arefer. This is great!

  2. ETENU
    August 17, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    This is so great, but the hill going up and considering the poor transportation in our city, you better get the break of your car checked before getting up there. So historical, fresh air and standing up there you get a good view of the mountains , the landscape of Addis Ababa. Beautiful place and it would be nice to build house in the neighborhood. I was told the land around that area had been sold to a Saudi Millionaire . The museum is beautiful,historical and a must area particularly for young people who grow up in the western world. I know for sure my kids enjoyed it.

  3. ETENU
    August 17, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    BTW Menelik & Taitu must have been great couple.

  4. Juru
    August 18, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    “in fact it looks more like a conservation unit than a museum”. I agree with this statement. They could do a whole lot better. It’s been a number of years since i visited the place, though. I even had to wait over an hour so until the guide return from his lunch or somewhere. But, It worth visiting.

  5. ETENU
    August 18, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Juru.don’t forget we are third world, at least they I enjoyed the guide who explained the history in detail emphasizing on how brilliant Taitu was. Museum’s are not that popular in our city Addis, I would never have gone to visit had I not lived abroad and realized how much history and natural beauty existed in my country. I think they are trying whether it looks conservation unit or a museum, the attempt to conserve that part of our past is what impressed me. Talk about waiting an hour, where do you think you were, it is TIA, we function with BPC. Just appreciate the fact that someone has tried to conserve history, and it is well worth visiting.

  6. August 19, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Many thanks,arefe!
    Emperor Menelik II is actually the greatest of all we have ever seen! He’s the master of Adwa’s Victory which is the the first ever the blacks secured over colonialists which in consequence changes the world’s politics and blacks independence! A genius diplomat and modernizer loved by his people who restored eithiopians pride and glory though some are prejudiced of his real personality!!

  7. Juru
    August 19, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Yeah, you’ve a point. As i said it was a long time ago and honestly, i don’t remeber the guide explanation either. What i remeber that he let me in. I guess, they’re now more organized.

    For those of you who are a big fan of Minelik II, i really, really suggest you to read a book written by “Pawlos Nonno”. Minelik was a true compassionate leader and some of the stuff in the book is just amazing.

  8. ETENU
    September 1, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    What is the name of the book.

  9. Demissew temesgen
    July 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Nice hitory

  1. October 24, 2009 at 6:01 am
  2. December 18, 2013 at 4:38 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: