Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Addis to maintain Menelik II and Sebastopol monuments

Menelik II Monument

 Landmark homes to get a facelift

At a cost of over 30 million birr, the Addis Ababa City Administration Culture and Tourism Bureau (AACTB)is to maintain Menelik II and Sebastopol monuments, located in the heart of Addis Ababa.

The historical homes of Sheikh Gojelle, Bitweded  Haile Giyorgis and Bitweded Wolde-Tsadik Goshu will also be renovated in the coming few months.

Renovation work will include filling the cracks, clearing the dust and painting. According to Worku Mengesha, Public Relations head of AACTB, they are now looking for a potential contractor who can renovate the monuments effectively.

“Preserving historical monuments and renovating old buildings are sensitive activities that require great expertise, and we are in the process of posting a tender to get the right contractors,” he said.

Sebastopol Monuments

They plan to keep the homes looking like they did all those years ago.

“We are sticking to the original material for the renovation and we will strictly follow the contractors to ensure that they are maintaining the historical quality of the sites,” he explained. Menelik II Statue shows the emperor sitting gloriously on a horse, and has been standing there since 1930. The statue was erected in memory of the battle of Adwa that was fought on 1 March 1896 between the Ethiopian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy near the town of Adwa, Ethiopia, in Tigray. This was the only major battle against colonialist power in the history of Africa, when Emperor Menelik and his army defeated the Italian army securing Ethiopia’s sovereignty. The victory of Adwa became a national celebration in Ethiopia. It is the second time the statue is being renovated as it was first given a makeover during the event’s centennial anniversary.

Sebastopol was the name of a large artillery mortar commissioned by the Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros II. The name was taken from the Crimean town Sevastopol, the site of a battle during the Crimean War. The mortar weighed approximately 6.7 tons, and was capable of firing off half-ton artillery rounds.

Tewodros, in an attempt to speed up industrialization in Ethiopia, took some British officials and German missionaries’ hostage to coerce technological help out of England. Instead the British government mounted an expedition to free the captives, which resulted in the Battle of Meqedela, during which Tewodros committed suicide by shooting himself with a pistol previously given to him as a gift by Queen Victoria.

Although there are no records of the mortar being used in the battle it remains half-buried in the ground, on the plateau at Meqedela, near Amba Mariam. A bronze replica has been cast and displayed in the centre of a roundabout at Tewodros Square, Churchill Avenue, Addis Ababa.

In related news, AACTB is investing six million birr to place map screens in 17 areas of the city in order to show major tourist sites and hotels in the city. Bole Airport, Megenagna, Piassa, Arat Killo, Haya Hulet, Gotera and Mexico are some of the areas that will receive the screens.

According to the bureau all the screen will be inaugurated by the coming Meskel holiday.