By: Haben Tekele
The concept of identity is closely associated with the idea of shared cultural understanding. Without identity there is little meaning and purpose to life. Back in history events satisfy a need for identity. Thus, the sedulously, tolerability, spunky diligence of citizens helps us illustrate how western concepts, rules, principles, conceptions and standards of nationalism have met concrete situations of fact in organized Eritrean society from antiquity.
The holly sound of the word historicism and “patriotism” brings to me a feeling of national pride as an Eritrean. We are proud of the mighty history of our country and its substance. We are loyal to our country’s ideal of its history and its geographic magnificence. No matter how hard might be to live, Eritrea’s presence is under warranty every time. Quite a large proportion of Eritreans take great offense (if it happened) when their flag is displayed the wrong way.
So we can precisely note that without Eritrea there is little meaning and purpose to life for Eritreans. Ergo, every Eritrean citizen was on the track of economic progress condemning backwardness thanks to his/her nationalistic passion.
Adding to this pride, lately Asmara has been proposed as a possible new addition to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, for its outstanding examples of 20th-century architecture and town planning. Alongside the newly established Free Zone in the two ports of Eritrea, Massawa and Assab will be great herald to Eritreans.
Asmara’s history actually goes back some 700 years. Some oral sources also date the existence of Asmara back to 982 BC. With several old towns in the state, it had served as the capital with the advent of Italian colonialism. In 1900 the Italians moved their administrative seat from Massawa to Asmara. It was from that time the task of beautifying and industrializing the capital city started.
This world heritage site is one of Asmara’s most iconic landmarks and worth a visit. If you are a history buff this is the place for you. If not, you will still enjoy the sheer grandeur of it all. Of course there are loads of tourists here but don’t let that put you off. See things like the beautifully designed stair cases, floors, windows, doors, gates, lights, plaster works, capitals, cemeteries and miscellaneous arts located in every streets of Asmara. You will find a throng of tourists being busy on clicking pictures. I am quite sure it is going be a very interesting day out. But there is duty to be done: pay your respects at the Pushkin Memorial built in memory of the great Eritrean originated Russian great poet found at the hub of that city.
Have you ever been to a city where you haven’t had high expectations, only to arrive there to be completely blown away? That’s what it was like for me in Asmara. The stunning architecture is what blew me away. It was the combination of modernism and its various forms, including Futurism, Rationalism, Novecento, and Art Deco, that impressed me; it worked so well together, complementing each other.
Mike Street, an English engineer tender of modern architecture and a frequent visitor to Asmara wrote his impression on Eritrea Profile (March-April 2004), states that in the first part of the twentieth century this urban reality became a sort of stylistic laboratory, where to give free play to one’s imagination and freedom of expression:
“Asmara offered architects and planners the freedom to experiment and to fulfill their dreams. The result was a model city of urban living expressed in some of the most adventurous style of that adventurous age… Plain geometric shapes were enhanced by sweeping horizontal curves and soaring stepped towers. Look out for portholes, gun slit and elongated windows, wraparound balconies and bull nose wings, spiral staircases and eyebrow sunshades, curving cantilevers and quirky zigzag chimney pots. Some buildings looked like ocean liners; one was like an airplane and several like ladies’ hats.”
You will find people of every age in every street, and all of them seemed normal. Some of them smiled at you and said, “Good morning,” but seemingly surreal with everything don’t be too bewildered to answer “Selam!”
As you walked around the streets, which by the way is the best way to see Asmara, you would actually got a sore neck from continually looking up and around at all top towers of the church, mosques, cinema and outer-lying buildings. You can walk through the city very easily which is another great way to take it all in. Bike riding is also very popular there with tourists and locals alike. But most tourists prefer using footpaths to experience the serenity of the city. Do not worry about safety issues; it’s very safe to walk through the district and it’s quite common to see a family strolling through the area. As the sun had rises buses, minibuses and taxis are waiting you everywhere.
Then don’t hesitate to have an ice-cream sitting on the comfortable looking marmoreal seats on the streets. The air is scented with perfume of palm tree along way the streets. The town seems brighter and more vivid with salted mist and blue skies broken only by the occasional breath of cloud stretched across the horizon during winter. Throughout the grounds, tulips and azaleas bloomed each spring. It’s Amazing!
You would be pleasantly surprised to find there is so much more to this amazing city than coffee shops and restaurants. There are memorials, fountains, zoo, cinema and good food and so much more. Asmara is a city rich in history and culture. With its picturesque stunning architecture and lush greenery it is one of the most beautiful cities. Nicknamed “Africa’s Secret Modernist City”, the best way to experience this city is from high height spot. You see the city from a different perspective and in all its glory.
This city is picturesque place
With cross cultural building techniques
That of Italian architects,
Which made Asmara as the largest pool of Rational’ buildings.
Futurism, Rationalism, Novecento, and Art Deco design,
Reflectan essence of the aesthetic collection.
Artistically built church and mosques,
Beautifully designed spiral stair case,
Stucco plasterwork in Cavernous cinemas,
Airplane mimicking petrol stations,
The sandwiched fountain,
Elongated towers with silhouettes,
A theatre with its magnificent frescos,
Ultra-modern government buildings,
The lambency Street light
Blooming its sight
So beautiful place!
Praised for its stability and peace
Humble people with crime free environment,
Can walk the streets at any time of day or night,
Living in rapport with simple living style,
Welcome! The model city,
Portrait of glory,
Ideal of fidelity,
Taking Asmara as Eritrean Dignity
Is a true manifestation of grace!