The Norwegian Residence in Addis Ababa. A cultural and historical landmark

21.09.2008 // The Norwegian residence in Addis Ababa, constructed in 1963 has a story to tell, having been subjected to a faith closely connected to the turbulent Ethiopian history of the last 50 years. The beautiful residence, located in the Old Airport area of the Ethiopian capital was originally built for the Major of Addis Ababa. 

A Swiss architect designed the house to be comfortable in a tropical climate, drawing on inspiration from South Amercian architecture it seems. However it has also a definite Swiss character. Located on a hectar of land, on what was the outskirts of town in the 1960s, it overlooks a river and with a beautiful view of the 3000 meters high Menagesha mountains, where the sun sets.

From being the residence of the Mayor of Addis Ababa, the house was nationalized during the Dergue regime but eventually given to the Cuban ambassador as the Cubans came in to help the Mengistu-regime turning back the Somali occupying forces of the Siad Barre-regime during the Ogaden war in 1977-78. The house was kept by Cuba until 2000 and the area where the residence is situated is now popularly called "Cuban Residence" among people in Addis Ababa.

As the current government started returning the properties nationalized during the Dergue to its original owners, the wife of the former Mayor was given the house back after the change of government in 1990. As the Cubans reduced their presence in Ethiopia and temporarily downgraded their presence from ambassadorial level, the Norwegian government was able to rent the house as a residence from 2000 and can hopefully remain in this beautiful house and gardens for many years to come.

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