Asmara: The Ever Thriving City (Part IV and Final)
With the developments in construction such as the putting of different infrastructures in place that include healthcare and education sectors, water supply and housing projects as well as sports infrastructures, Asmara has by far been a hub of national development in which every new thing introduced in the city takes not long to be in other areas of the country. With the ever booming all-rounded development, the city has become an epitome where vital experiences could be shared with the rest part of the country. In the post-independence period, Asmara has been sustainably expanded to all directions. There are areas that make not only visitors but also inhabitants of the city wonder to see many outskirts have become central areas. Many areas that used to be just plains have now been covered with buildings of different sizes and colors. The routes that take to the newly built house complexes are two way asphalted roads and any stranger finds it difficult to differentiate which is the old and also which is the new city, but this is in fact with the exception of the art deco building in the down town that are highly noticeable through their architectural beauty.
Based on new master plan for collective housing projects in 10 different areas of the city, Sembel housing project of 1994 opened a chain of such like projects. Thus, Space 2001 Housing Project for Eritrean diaspora returnees has followed the preliminary Sembel housing project. A number of house complexes were built not only along the road to Kushet under Space 2001 Housing Project but also Segen Construction Company has also built a number of houses in Mai-Temenay. Bond housing projects were also introduced in five areas of the city in around 1200 hectares. These housing projects have not only expanded the city’s premises but also added glamour to its existed beauty. Besides the construction of varied business firms in Adi-Guadad and Merhano industrial zones on areas of about 300 hectares, a number of houses on an area of around 8,900 hectares were also built in the villages around Asmara and to some extent in Adi-Segdo and Adi-Abieto. The complete renovation of Asmara stadium and the setting up of Orotta referral hospital are also part of the endeavors towards improving living standards of nationals and giving access to all sorts of services.
The buildings along the road to Kushet appear to be objects stretched in never ending line. Looking this from a far distance, these houses look as if they are paintings in a very big canvas. To the excitement of everybody who passed by this road the images that appeared to be well painted buildings makes one wonder to find these are real houses of varied colors and sizes and as well as of different beauties. As Asmara has been continuously expanded to all directions, it would at one point in time merged with the villages in its environs. The total area of Asmara that used to be 70 square km in the pre-independence period has reached to about 190 square km and by 2025 it is expected to be expanded up to 250 square Km.
Owing to its well embellished art deco buildings, Asmara has been registered in UNESCO’s tentative list of historic cities. `According to the proclamation issued in 1937, the total geographical area of Asmara used to cover only 49 square km. But, with the steady expansion the city’s boundaries has reached to a total area of about 190 square km. Many tourists are always prompted to capture the exciting and very fascinating scene of this beautiful city with their cameras. Tourists from overseas have been visiting the country for a number of times. All the tourists who have visited Asmara time and again express their satisfaction; not only they are satisfied of the city’s beauty but they also feel at home. A Japanese tourist who recently came to Eritrea with his wife and who was photographing the eye catching beauty of the city said: “As tourists we feel at ease to walk around even at the evening.” All the tourists who have been visiting the country are appreciative of the Asmara’s architectural beauty saying “Though Asmara has passed through hardships in the past; it is still an adorable city.” Most of the visiting tourists are very impressed of the engineering aspect of the buildings that were constructed in the 1920s which is indeed a beauty they could not otherwise enjoy in their respective countries.
The number of visiting tourists which annually exceeds not 20 thousand between the 1960s and 1990 has gradually been increasing with the all-rounded post-independence opportunities. Thus, owing to its unique peace and tranquility and the yet to be discovered endowments, the number of visiting tourists has annually been in the range of 150-to-250 thousand and this number has annually been growing by 15%. Along the growing number of tourists, there have been also a growing number of tourism service providers at varied levels of standards.
Visiting tourists form Germany like Dr. Christian Lorenz and his friends also from Germany said that they really liked Asmara’s people, the tourism services, the beautiful buildings and the city’s good weather. These tourists are of the opinion that in Europe one could not go out after midnight, but traveling in the evening hours on the streets of Asmara, they felt as if walking at day time.
The number of service rendering institutions which covers gift shops, hotels, cafes, bars and recreation centers did not exceed 300 in 1991-in the very independence period. However, with the construction of international hotels such as Asmara Palace Hotel and other service rendering institutions at varied levels of standards, the number of such tourism service rendering enterprises has raised to 1300 which showed a growth of 72%.
An Eritrean customer who was enjoying his spare time at Imperial Hotel expressed his admiration of the city saying: “Asmara is a symbol of unity where all the nine ethnic groups of the country are living in harmony. All in all, he said that Asmara is a perfect place for any sort of joy. Asmara is indeed the ever thriving city in all aspects and is a center of tourism attraction and also an asset to global heritage.