The Flamboyant Ethiopian Open Markets


Shopping! Is one of the swaying reasons to visit Addis Ababa. Needless to say no write-up on Addis Ababa would be complete without a mention of Merkato – Addis Ababa’s fascinating attraction and the largest open market in Eastern Africa. Image

Ethiopian open markets serve as a place for regular social gatherings as well as the exchange of products.  Also provides many colorful scenes of the local community for visitors and a good opportunity for photographs. It is a place to see different kinds of traditional costumes of Ethiopia’s ethnic groups. When visiting the diverse Ethiopia, the main open markets of each region makes a nice stopover for travelers who wants to be able to capture the real feel of the country, people and its culture. Image

In this particular post, I like to take you in another virtual journey through the flamboyant Ethiopian open markets.  Besides Addis Ababa’s open markets, we are going to stop at interesting and colorful markets from three different towns of Ethiopia (Bahr Dar, Lalibela and Harar) and share few interesting facts about it along the way. Image

Starting from Addis Ababa- where you can find everything about Ethiopia as a whole. Besides Merkato, Addis Ababa is home to other smaller but colorful markets which are worth to visit. Image

Ethiopian open markets consists of an almost infinite numbers of sections devoted to such items as clothes, grain, spices, pots, baskets, ironware and the like. The largest customers for Ethiopian crafts are Ethiopian themselves. Most objects are functional and put to daily use. Image

Visitors who are seeking souvenir will find it easy to obtain items that have particular use as well as artistic and cultural value. Ethiopian handicrafts are unique and expressive; almost each item has a story behind it. Each region in Ethiopia tends to specialize in particular hand-made products that have been handed down over generations.  And it is in Addis Ababa’s colorful open markets where you can find it all together.Image

Wednesday and Saturday are market days for most of Ethiopian open markets, so it is best to visit when its liveliest. Ethiopian open markets are an amazing crowded place with endless veiled pouch to find and can be easily explored on foot.Image

From all of the interesting sections, the butter and spice section is a must-see for visitors because of its distinct appeal, with its numerous of colors and aromatic smells.  In general, when shopping in the Merkato and other Ethiopian open markets ‘bargaining’ is almost the main system in the selling and buying process. Image

Now it is time to get a taste of Ethiopian open markets from the lakeside town called Bahr Dar. Image

A town that is located as it on the southern end of Lake Tana, provides access to both the lake and its many islands, and to the blue Nile Falls. Bahr Dar’s two markets are both worth a visit.  The main market display colorful woven cloth and a wide range of supplies.ImageImageImageImageImageImage

Besides being an ancient world and being a home to 11 magnificent medieval rock-hewn churches, a trip to the Lalibela market is also worthwhile. ImageImage

A larger weekly Sunday market held at the small village called Senbete, providing many interesting and colorful scenes for passionate photographers. Many charming people come from far to sell and buy cattle, cloth, jewelry, spices, honey, sandals and agricultural products. The village called Robit in Lalibela also provides another colorful Ethiopian open market every Wednesday.Image

One of the interesting items in Ethiopian open markets is Berebaso – the handmade sandals made out of old tires.Image

No visit to Harar would be complete without wandering through the jumbled markets that slouch outside the Harar Gate and Shoa Gate. ImageImageImageImageImage

Overall, Shopper’s paradise can be found in…Image


About Sara Genene

I am a traveler... on an endless journey of self-discovery!
This entry was posted in Adventure, Africa, Art, culture, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to The Flamboyant Ethiopian Open Markets

  1. Very interesting. Thank you! (Suzanne)


  2. Sandals made out of old tyres… love it!!!


  3. Absolutely astonishing post , the culture the open market, the nature ,the pictures.Cheers.jalal


  4. Theresa says:

    Thank you, Sara. The colors, the people, the items being sold – I feel like I am there. I especially find churches hewn from the rock to be a fascinating testament to hope and prayer.


  5. Sara, always such a fascinating journey with your photos and words. Thank you again!


  6. Violet says:

    Once again, I feel like I’m visiting the markets through your beautiful photos & descriptions, Sara. And you brought back memories (even though it’s not Ethiopia) of when I went market shopping in Kenya! Oh how I miss travelling to the continent Africa; and through your blog, I have to say Ethiopia is at the top of my must visit countries in Africa now! Thank you!! 😀


  7. Alex Suarez says:

    As always, thank you for the virtual tour!


  8. kyrielleadelshine says:

    Geez!! Do you also work for National Geographic?!!? This post is phenomenal. The photos are gorgeous and the detail provided is so descriptive and well put, is DOES in a way make you feel like you are there experiencing it yourself (at least for me it did!!).

    Did you take the photos yourself? Also, is that picture in the Gravatar you? All beautiful. I’m lacking I’m descriptive quality here, but this post just blows me away. It reminds how egocentric I can be here in the U.S. and that there’s a whole big world out there besides the states, which is refreshing. It also reminds me that there is too, so much good out there in the world I have yet to see and experience, just a truly inspiring post.

    Thank you so much for sharing, greatly appreciated and blown away. It’s opened my mind up more and I think that’s one of my most favorite types of experiences in life ;0) Excellent reporting ;0)


  9. kyrielleadelshine says:

    Ohh, also, thank you for visiting my blog as well and for the “like”. I appreciate that as well ;0)


  10. Finn says:

    The colours in the markets are vibrant! I especially like the purple cloth in the Bahr Dar market. Thanks for another fascinating insight into life in Ethiopia.


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