Asmara: The Capital City In The Clouds

I’m not here to give you a history lesson so you can learn about the influence of the Italians on Eritrea elsewhere. Needless to say around 70 years of colonisation has left its mark on the country, not least on the architecture and culture of Asmara.

Notice how bicycles inadvertently become a theme in my pics?

We jumped out of the bus in front of the Italian-built Roman Catholic cathedral.

We had just four hours to discover the small capital. It is de rigeur to stop off for a coffee in one of the Italian-style coffee shops, accompanied by a pastry and the many well-dressed gentlemen who are hanging out drinking espressos.

This main boulevard was lined by palms and looked very western.

Just one street away, however, it became a little more ‘rustic’, shall we say, as we approached the market.

That’s enough of my commentary, here’s the remainder of the pics, starting off with some market shots and then progressing towards the residential side of the town on the eastern hill.

After a few hours of wandering the streets taking snaps and generally being the only white face in the area it was time to depart. The most gutting thing about leaving was that we thought we were leaving Eritrea the next day, but winds kept us in Massawa for another week, so we could have spent longer in Asmara. Grrrr. Anyway, back in the bus and back down through the clouds…

I thought I’d save my fave pic till last…






25 Comments on “Asmara: The Capital City In The Clouds”

  1. Henry

    An interesting illustration of Eritrean history: the Italian influence is strong in the more formal architecture.

  2. eeyore's mum

    Jamie and Liz, Your photoggraphy is professional—but more to the point,is that you are giving us an opportunity to share your experience. Thank you Liz for your reassurance.
    Where you are is a geoligic,historic, culture cocktail.
    Write a book—–we’ll buy it.

  3. fiona

    Hey Cuz and Cuz in law. Yet again some fab photos. I agree with Eeyore’s Mum, write a book about your travels and add your excellent photos.
    Love you both loads
    Cuz x

  4. alice

    alright gaymie and spazabeth
    your pictures are actually amazing! i wish i was on your travels with you, everywhere looks so interesting! i miss you two! hope to see you sometime soon!
    love alice xxxx

  5. Tim

    Stunning, though I feel I have been cheated by the media, these third-world countries are not starving, there is food everywhere!

    Note: not the only white face, spot the Kosovan drug dealer in picture 19.

  6. Jamie

    Thank you for your comments. Henry, interesting to read your comments on the terraces in the previous set of photos. Jay, we do insert the odd video clip in the blog but what with the photographs and podcasts there wouldn’t be enough time to sail the boat or visit these places if we had to edit regular video clips too!

  7. Antonella

    Hello you 2 ! I’m amazed by the light in this last set of photos: at times they remind me of murales I’ve seen in Mexico, where splashes of vivid colours seem to jump out of sepia backgrounds… beautiful, and very touching. I’m so happy for you, living this extraordinary adventure. Looking forward to more… Lots of love !!

  8. Fogey Demon

    Yes I have been playing “Spot the Bike” for some time. I am afraid it has become compulsory for all future FTB photographs! 😀

  9. connie Lockwood

    If you don’t write a book as Eeyore’s Mum has wisely suggested, then how about a set of DVDs based on your travels. You have such an eye for capturing the essence of the land, the flora, fauna, and its people Jamie. I also appreciate your wit! Thanks again! Can’t wait to enjoy much more! All the best to you and all of the crews!

  10. connie Lockwood

    If you don’t write a book as Eeyore’s Mum has wisely suggested, then how about a set of DVDs based on your travels. You have such an eye for capturing the essence of the land, the flora, fauna, and its people Jamie. I also appreciate your wit! Thanks again! Can’t wait to enjoy much more! All the best to you and all of the crews! 🙂

  11. JOHN

    Outstanding! Although I usually prefer to view photos of the Italian colonial art-deco buildings in Asmara, there are certainly enough of those on the web to see. Your photos, on the other hand, capture the true feel of Asmara’s populace in a way I have never seen. You truly have a gifted eye.

  12. Harvey Jessop

    Dear Both – I have just discovered your website and podcast and want to thank you so much for all the effort you put into this and to comment on how much enjoyment we all get in following your adventure. The photos are superb, and I would love to know a bit more about the settings you are using to achieve such artistic images? Take care and fair winds

  13. Pingback: Jamie Furlong Wins The Times Photography Competition With Asmara Market Shot |

  14. Peter & Claire

    We are avid followers of your travels and think that the photo’s and comments are tremendous. Keep up the very good work and CONGRATULATIONS on winning the prize

    S/Y Shania at present in Grenwich-Spain 😆

  15. Caroline and Richard (Mianda)

    Well done – your photographs and your journals are first class.

    I hope that Jamie will exert similar pressure on Liz to do something more with her singing: she has a fantastic voice. Do you know the songs about yotties and their lives written and recorded by a very talented Canadian woman called Eileen Quinn? Liz ought to put some of her adventures into song and record them

  16. Yonas

    I came across your site while googling pictures of the city I was born and raised, Asmara. Thank you for sharing this amazing photos. It’s been over 16 years since I left, you certainly have brought a lot of memories.

    Just to add a bit more info. I was wondering if you explored the central part of the city which Strerches from Nakfa House to The Commerical Bank Building. There you will find the colonial legacy magnified to a degree where some named it “Little Rome” or “Nieshtey Roma” locally. If any one visits in the future I recommend the said location for more of the legacy posted by this Amazing traveller.
    Thank you once again.

    1. Jamie

      Thanks for the extra info, Yonas. Yes, we spent a day there wandering most of the streets. The colonial influence is apparent, and the coffee shops on the tree-lined avenues makes it feel quite Italian. We loved Asmara and would like to return.

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