The first two months of the New Year in Eritrea always sees a great number of weddings. The streets are jammed with traffic due to the greater flow of vehicles, many with horns blaring as they ferry newlywed couples and their co-revelers.
“Culture may be said to be the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterize a society or a social group. It includes not only the arts and letters, but also modes of life, the fundamental rights of the human being, value systems, tradition and belief…. It is through culture that man expresses himself, becomes aware of himself, recognizes his incompleteness, questions his own achievements, seeks untiringly for new meanings and creates works through which he transcends his limitations”(UNESCO).
Ancient old manuscripts from the Monastery of Saint Merkerewos -in Eritrea, similarly to the long-perceived belief of the ancient Greeks, assert that the human world is made of fire, air, water and earth. In one of the ‘Tirguame Wengel’ translational works of this monastery which was written in 1628, we see that ‘youth’ is being referred to as ‘fire of a society who always struggle to interpret signs, remarks and secrets.’
The mist that had covered the city about a week ago was quite a scene. This was neither Florence, Paris, New York, Barcelona nor was it London, Rome or Venice. This was Asmara. Asmara is the capital city of Eritrea, a country found in the horn of Africa. Asmara simply means beautiful. It was designed in the 1930s by the best Italian architects during Mussolini’s push to dominate Africa. It’s a wonderful mix of pan tile roofs, and palm trees. It appears as if southern Italian culture has been transplanted in Africa.
Asmara Gallery opened its gate to the public from the 21st to the 28th of November. In this photographic exhibition, 25 black and white pictures were presented by a professional photographer, Mr. Robert Papstein.
A couple of friends, I one of them, were casually chatting about … well nothing in particular but this and that. Amid the chit-chat the topic of Siwa (homemade, brewed traditional alcoholic drink) came into our discussion. Among the group, there were some Siwa lovers; and so they began describing how they like their Siwa to the smallest details. Basically, there are two kinds of Siwa, Gu’esh and Xiray.