The medieval town of Ankober is one of the best accomplished day trip destinations in the vicinity of Addis Ababa. Served as the seat of the Shewan Kingdom beginning from the second half of the 18th century, Ankober is the epicenter of the late medieval period history of Ethiopia and the springboard for the establishment of the present Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Found 170km northeast of Addis Ababa on an elevated mesa, the area is one of the scenic and intriguing spots to travel. Believed to be founded by Merid Azmatch Ameha Eyesus one of the kings of the shewan kingdom, the place was an important political and economic center. A number of Shoan rulers are buried in churches in the surrounding area.
Apart from its scenic beauty and buoyant historical attractions, the highlands surrounding Ankober, which sit at an elevation of some 2,500m, are great for hiking and even more rewarding for birdwatchers. The very rare endemic Ankober serin can be found here, while two breeds of seedeater, the white throat, and the yellow throat may also be spotted.
The small town in the lowland Aliyu Amba near Ankober was one of the first places where the tax system started in Ethiopia. The diplomatic missions – that Britain, France, and Italy established here during Menelik’s reign – can also be distinguished in the town itself.