Asmara is the capital and largest city in Eritrea. It originally grew to importance as a provincial capital in the Ethiopian Empire. In 1889 Italy’s attempts to create a colonial empire in Africa saw Asmara occupied and selected to serve as the colony’s capital.
It remained a quiet colonial town until the 1930’s when the fascist Mussolini government set about creating a "little Rome" in Africa.
It was this unlikely source of patronage that brought about the striking modernist Art-Deco feel that dominates Asmara’s architecture. Famous buildings in this tradition include the Cinema Impero, the Fiat Tagliero Building and the Governor’s Palace
The unique look of Asmara is a potential tourist gold mine for Eritrea but its development as a destination is hampered by the long running dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
This video travelogue visits Eritrea and explores its wonderful architecture