ADDIS ABABA (HAN) July 19.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. By Nardos Yoseph. Many of the city’s historical buildings and memorials have had minimal effort put into their protection
The Addis Abeba City Culture & Tourism Bureau is to invest a total of 23 million Br to renovate five historical sites in the city.
The restoration will cover three properties and two monuments.
The properties to be renovated residences of prominent personalities during the reigns of Menelik II and Emperor Haileselasie I.
One of the to be restored is the former home of Hojele al Hasen (Sheikh), located in the Gulele District, commonly known as Shegolee. Hojele was a governor of Assosa when the city was occupied by Emperor Menelik II in 1898.
The second site that will be renovated is Hailegiorgis Agidew’s (Bi’teweded) former home. Hailegiorgis served as the First Minister of Trade and Foreign Affairs and was the second Mayor of the capital during Emperor Menilik II’s reign. Over the many years since its grandeur as a residence, it has been turned into the First Instance Court in Arada District.
The third property to be restored once belonged to the city’s first Mayor, Woldetsadiq Goshu (Bi’teweded), located in Nifas Silk District.
The renovation of these three buildings to their earlier state will cost the city 17 million Br.
“Little conservation effort has gone in to these historical buildings, with Bi’teweded Woldetsadiq’s former residence now used by seven households and others being used as schools,” Worku Mengesha, the Bureau’s regulatory officer, noted. “Treating its historical sites in such a poor manner is embarrassing for the city.”
The city’s renovation will also include two monuments: Emperor Tewodros II’s Sebastopol Canon on Churchill Avenue and Menelik II’s monument located on Menelik II Square will be renovated at a total cost of six million birr. The city administration will cover all the costs.
Priority was given to these historical sites and monuments after assessing the state of condition they were in.
Research conducted by the Bureau indicated that most historical sites in the city are forgotten and face ruin. It identified 400 historical sites from what were previously 265 sites. Ninety-nine of these sites have retained their historical status in the city’s master plan.
These projects are not the first for the Bureau to announce this fiscal year. The residence of Biru Wolde Gebreil (Ras), War Minister of Emperor Menelik II, has been renovated at the cost of 17 million Br and opened as the Addis Abeba Museuml, located on the southern side of Meskel Square. The Martyrs’ memorial at Sidest Kilo and the Victory Monument at Arat Kilo have also been restored this year, with a five-million-birr budget.
The Bureau is preparing documents to invite companies to bid to restore the residences and memorials.
“Once renovated, the properties may be used as cultural restaurants, gift shops or any other thing which the Bureau is assured will not damage the sites,” said Worku.