Tuesday, September 29, 2009


The Mercato is the largest open-air market in Africa. It is located on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. My guide Dawit wasn’t joking when he told me that everything is for sale at this complicated and tortuous market place called the Mercato. Dawit and I walked the never ending maze of streets and alleyways crowded with throngs of people and animals.

It was the rainy season and there was mud and water puddle everywhere. The smell in the air ranged from the aroma of spices from the hundreds of spice sellers to the stench of rotten vegetables and human excrement.

Mesob for bread, cakes or pastries

There are stalls and kiosks selling beautiful jabena coffee pots, hand woven colored baskets called mesobs, leather goods, luggage’s, saddles, car parts, silver and gold, electronics, live chickens hanging by their legs and I even saw men walking around selling kitchen utensils and household items strapped to their bodies. 

The women wore beautiful cotton hand woven dresses embroidered with crucifixes in many different colors.

 The Mercato is the meat market; the spice market; the fruit market; the taj market (honey wine); and even a whole street devoted to selling khat. It is said that over half the money in Ethiopia changes hand here. From Nomads cattle herding, Borena people, Gurage traders, Amhara farmers, businessmen in smart suits from the Northern boom towns flashing the latest cell phones, to the traditional weavers of the Dorze people. On any given day you can find people from all over Ethiopia haggling in 80 different languages.

Ethiopia is struggling economically with more than its fair share of water and electricity shortages and health care problems. But what it lacks in development, it more than makes up for with a wealth of cultural, archaeological and natural riches. In fact, Ethiopia is the envy of every country in Africa. Ethiopia and its treasures are timeless!

It’s a unique experience to visit a country and culture largely untouched by people from the west.  


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful photographs.I have a painting og "the market place by an African oil painter Omanbossa/ 1967. So i see that the beat goes on. Again... thanks...RIP2

Linda Crawford said...

Hello RIP2,

Thanks for your comment!

It has been a crazy few months and I am still not back into my normal routine.

Sorry it took so long to post my photos from Africa; there are many and I don't want to bombard you guys with everything all at once.

I hope you all enjoyed the photos as much as I enjoyed bringing them to you.

Your comment means a lot to me and will not be moderated. All I ask is for everyone to play it nice and follow these simple rules.

1. It is quite OK not to like a post, just please don't use offensive language.
2. No personal attacks.
3. Please keep it classy.

I love to hear your thoughts and
thank you all for your comments.

Linda Crawford