Menelik Palace

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The Menelik Palace is a palatial compound in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For years known as the Gebi,[1] it was the seat of the power of Ethiopia's emperors. Within its confines are several residences, halls, chapels, and working buildings. [2] Today it contains the offices and residence of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

History[edit]

The palace grounds contains different churches. The most important is the Ta'eka Negest (Resting Place of Kings) Ba'eta Le Mariam Monastery. It has a large Imperial crown at the top of the dome. The church serves as a mausoleum for emperor Menelik II, his wife Empress Taitu, and Empress Zewditu, his daughter and eventual successor. Other churches within the grounds are the Se'el Bet Kidane Meheret Church (Our Lady Covenant of Mercy) and the Debre Mengist St. Gabriel Church.

During the rule of Mengistu Haile Mariam, the place grounds were used as a prison to house many notables of the government of Emperor Haile Selassie, the Emperor included. Built during this time was the Shengo Hall, accommodating the country's legislature, and the Presidential Office Building.

In 2010, construction began on a new residence for Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his family. The project, which was estimated to cost 80 million birr for a two-storey house, was being supervised by Meles's wife, Azeb Mesfin. [3] Also part of the project were guest houses worth 25 million birr, and a thorough refurbishment of the palace gardens. [3]

In November 2012, Azeb was said to have been stalling on her departure from the palace, three months after her husband's death. She was said to be ignoring instructions to move to one of three villas provided for her, refusing to even visit them out of concerns for her security. [4] This forced the new Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, to stay in a small house in the city's western suburbs and commute to and from the Prime Minister's Office late at night and early in the morning.

Buildings[edit]

Te'eka Negist Masoleum[edit]

Burial place of Emperors Menelik II and Iyasu V and Empresses Zewditu and Taytu.

Shengo Hall[edit]

The Shengo hall was built by the Derg at a cost of $18 million. [5] It was prefabricated in Finland, and, at the time of its construction, was the largest prefabricated building in the world. [6] It was opened on 9 September 1987 after the promulgation of the new constitution and election of the assembly, to a grand ceremony that counted Presidents Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Hassan Gouled Aptidon of Djibouti and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt as guests. After the fall of the Mengistu government, the Ethiopian Parliament convened its previous chambers, and today the building is used as an occasional meeting place.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Adis Ababa" in the Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th ed.
  2. ^ "Imperial Palaces and Residences of Ethiopia". Imperial Ethiopia Homepage. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Sintayehu, Zekarias (19 March 2011). "Meles Zenawi to build 80 million birr lavish residence". Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Ashine, Aregaw (17 November 2012). "Azeb Mesfin 'refusing to vacate palace'". Nazret.com. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Gray, Jerry (9 September 1987). "Ethiopian Assembly Convenes". Associated Press. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Shengo Hall". Retrieved 22 August 2013. 

External links[edit]