Abi Adi

On wikipedia it is called Abiy Addi. Our college spells it Abbiyi Addi. The town sign is written Abbi Addi. Alternative spellings are Aby Adi, Ābīy Ādī,  Abi Addi, Abi Aday…

Welcome to Abi Adi!!

On these pages we’ll try to profile some of the sights and the way of life in this small town in Northern Ethiopia. It is town of around 15,000 people but it is possible to see a lot of growth and change, meaning there is a great variety of buildings and things to see, from corragated tin houses to large office blocks, shoe shine shacks on the street corner to expensive restaurant resorts.

First some facts:

  • Abi Adi means “Big Town” in Tigrigna.
  • It is around 1800 -1900 metres above sea level.
  • The population in 2005 was 13,718 – this must have grown to over 15,000 by now.
  • It is in the Tigray region, and is the centre of an area called Tembien.
  • It has a market on Saturdays, a teacher training college and a technical college as well as a number of kindergartens, elementary schools and high schools.
  • It is located on the road between the cities of Mekelle and Adwa and is the centre for many surrounding villages and hamlets.

In the book “In Ethiopia With A Mule” by Dervla Murphy, published 1968, she writes of Abi Adi:

“Abbi Addi is the administrative centre of the Tembien District, yet it is misleading to refer to the place as a ‘town’. Walking through its laneways one has to negotiate small boulders and minor gorges, and all the houses are single-storey, roughly construcuted shacks. The headquarters of the district administration is an extraordinary building, made of iron-sheeting, even to the floors, and because many sheets are missing one has to jump over six-foot-deep holes, half filled with chunks of rock.”

Things have moved on a little since then. In  the Bradt guide for Ethiopia by Philip Briggs he writes:

“Abi Aday literally means ‘Big Town’, and although not quite the metropolis this might suggest, it is a reasonably substantial and seemingly quite rapidly expanding settlement, set in a dusty valley below an impressive cliff. The town is divided into two parts by a small bridge across the Tsechi River. The lower part of town is where the better hotels are, and where the buses stop. The upper part of town is where you’ll find the marketplace, Elsa’s Hotel, and the seedier bars in which you’re most likely to see Awri dancing as the tej hits the marks. This aside, Abi Aday holds little of interest except as a base from which to explore the nearby churches.”

Please look at the following sub-pages for more pictures and information on the following:

Maylomin Garden Lodge
Government Housing Scheme