Headline March 06, 2017/ ''' ERITREA *EON* ECHOES '''


!COME ON  -GIRLS!  COME ON  -HEROES!  :  Merium, Rabo, Haleema, Saima, Paras, Sorat, Dee, Aqsa, Sarah-

Eman/LUMS, Armeen/LUMS, and Little Angels :  Maynah, Haanyia/ Ireland and Merium/Singapore..................

How come Eritrea has such horrid and shameful readership stats on the World Students'  Master Publication : Sam Daily Times : *The Voice Of The Voiceless*. 

Rabo and Dee, inform the Eritrean students? Will Ya?  Shake up the Eritreans,  and Tell the Eritrean students,  to get a move on.

WHAT STRUCK ME MOST about Eritrea's capital, Asmara, is the lack of hustle and bustle of many other African cities; it's one of the most laid-back cities I have visited in Africa.

The city centre is compact, making it very easy to walk around and navigate,  while the climate is another draw: the city enjoys mild year-around temperatures of around 26 degrees C.

Walking around Asmara you will notice a distinct influence in its architecture and cuisine.

Eritrea was ruled by the Kingdom of Italy between  1882 and 1941, and was populated mainly in Asmara   -by groups of Italian colonists, who moved there from the beginning of the 20th century.

Due to the city's heavy influence by Italian architecture   -it was used as a test-bed for daring architecture styles   -Asmara was known as 'Picolo Roma' ............. [little Rome]. 

As you wander, keep an eye out for the fantastic examples of art deco and colonial Italian modernist buildings from the 1920s and 30s.

One particularly fine example is the futuristic  FIAT Tagliero service station, poised like a plane about to take flight with huge cantilevered 'wings' stretched out over open space.

The local authorities at the time were not convinced the structure would hold, and requested that the architect  Guiseppe Pettazzi to support the ends with pillars.

The architect complied with their wishes by putting in wooden supports. According to the local legend, during the building's unveiling he forced the foreman to remove the supports at gunpoint.

The roof still stands unsupported over 75 years later. The nearby IRGA building and Cinema Impero are also great examples of the architectural legacy left by the Italians.

When it comes to Eritrean cuisine, pizza and pasta have found their way onto nearly every menu, and locals order macchiatos and cappuccinos in cafes. 

For those with a sweet tooth, visit one of the bakeries lining Avenue, or for cool treat try Da Fortuna Gelato Italiano, where ingredients are brought in fresh from Italy.

Eritrea also has traditional food similar to that found in Ethiopia, such as injera bread served with tasty wats [stews], zigni {a beef stew in tomato sauce flavoured with berbere} and tibs {grilled meat}.

Harnet Avenue is the main street through the centre of Asmara, lined with palm trees, cafes, cinemas, bakeries, and restaurants. Here, you can arrange the permits required if you plan to travel outside of Greater Asmara.

Come by again at sunset for the passegiata, an Italian ritual of taking an evening stroll and socialising before dinner, as locals come out to sip a macchiato and catch up on the day's gossip with friends.

If you listen closely, you can still hear older Eritreans chatting in Italian, although Eritrea has three official languages: Tigrinya, Arabic, and English. 

There are nine different ethnic groups represented in Eritrea, all depicted on the Eritrean currency: Afar, Bilen, Hedareb, Kunama, Nara, Rahaida, Saho, Tigre, and Tigrinya.

The Tigrinya are the predominant group in the highlands, while the Muslim Afar and Rashaida live among the Red Sea coast.

I hired a car and a driver and during my visit in order to visit Massawa on the coast. My driver Michael, an Eritrean-Italian, suggested we ignore the direct route in favor of the longer, more scenic route via Filfil.

The Filfil road descends through multiple switchbacks with great views out over the valleys below, and on a clear day, you can see all the way to the coast. 

The landscape slowly changes as you descend, eucalyptus forests disappearing as the terrain becomes arid and barren. The coast is also much warmer than the highlands   -nearly an 11 degrees C difference,

Locals here are from the Rashaida ethnic group, and the women wear distinctive colourful clothing. We drove on past isolated villages and hers of camel, to where the road eventually joined the main Massawa-Asmara highway.

Massawa is the main port for Eritrea and was the capital of Italian Eritrea before it moved to Asmara. Massawa itself is built across several islands and the mainland, and all are joined by long causeways to the port.

Before the Italians, Massawa had been controlled by the Ottoman Turks, Egyptians, and the even the British. There are still several buildings remaining from the Ottoman period in the old town, and the architecture style feels closer to Dijbouti City than Asmara.

And on the drive, I came across a restaurant where diners sat outside eating fish covered in spices and cooked Yemeni-style in an oven until it came out crispy.

The next day, the  100km direct route back to Asmara took around two hours, the route running parallel to the railway most on the distance. As the road wound up the mountainside it provided stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

*[By the way, The Eritrean Railway was built by the Italians to connect the port at Massawa with Asmara, and was quiet an engineering marvel. It took nearly 50 years to complete, rising to  2,400 m via 39 tunnels and 65 bridges from the coast to Asmara, then continuing inland to Keren.

At one point over 30 trains a day used to run the route. Sadly, the railway deteriorated after the road was completed, but was restored in the 1990s without any foreign aid, and is now a source of national pride]*. 

We stopped at a scenic overlook in Nelfasit to have a look across the valley to the Debre Bizen monastery, perched high on the peak of a mountain, before making our way back to the capital.

Asmara is one of the most pleasant African cities, and the culture, architecture and cuisine, landscape, and history will captivate any tourist, any student,...  

*And make you yearn to return to this enchanting country*.

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, researcher Jordan Hargrave, Students, Professors and Teachers of Eritrea. See Ya all on !WOW! -the World Students Society and Twitter-!E-WOW!  -the Ecosystem 2011:

'''Fibre Cyber Safely '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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