The Monument of the Martyrs An attempt on the life of Viceroy Graziani by two Ethiopians in February 1937 provoked the Italians to unleash a three-day reign of terror, in the course of which thousands of innocent.
Ethiopian citizens were killed in cold blood and many of their houses burnt down. The monument was erected and inaugurated on 19 February 1942 in their memory to tell the world and remind Ethiopians of their history.
The Lion of Judah was erected in the square of the Addis Ababa railway station, portraying the devotion of Emperor Menelik to link Ethiopia with the outside world by means of the railway line (with the help of his Swiss adviser, then foreign minister, Engineer Alfred Ilg). The bronze statue can be seen immediately in front of the railway station, which was built by the French and inaugurated in 1929.
On the Lion of Judah statue are carved in relief the effigies or faces of four high-ranking personalities: Emperor Menelik II in his coronation robes and crown, surrounded by patterns of
maize and coffee plants (north), Queen Zewditu in circular relief and with a golden crown on her head (south), Ras Makonnen with golden crown in a patterned relief, and Negus Teferi in his robe and crown prince hood with patterned decoration.
Similarly to the Equestrian Statue of Emperor Menelik II, the Statue of the Lion of Judah was pulled down in the 1936 fascist Italian invasion and taken to Rome where it stayed for 30 years. It was returned after lengthy negotiations and was re-erected on the original site on the same month and day it was first inaugurated.
The Lion of Judah itself faces to the south with opened mouth, raised left foreleg and carries the Ethiopian flag on a crossbar resting on its shoulder.
This monument is erected on the square of Emperor Menelik near St. George Church and is a standing testimony of the famous Battle of Adwa in 1896, witnessing Africa’s triumph over European colonialism.
The statue of Emperor Menelik is one of the monuments erected many years after the foundation of Addis Ababa. A German architect, Hartel Spengler, cast it in bronze on the orders of Queen Zewditu, the daughter of Emperor Menelik II, in memory of her father. The statue symbolizes the anti-colonial struggle of Emperor Menelik who waged the Battle of Adwa, the climatic battle of the First Italo-Ethiopian War.
Even though it is little more than 120 years since its foundation, Addis Ababa has some fine historical heritage, especially in old houses. The number of historical buildings in the capital city are many.
The first statue was erected in 1941 and inaugurated by Emperor Haile Selassie in memory of Abune Petros, the archbishop of the Ethiopian orthodox church who supported the national patriots against the fascist Italian invaders. The fascist leaders tried to persuade him to preach to the people of Ethiopia to accept their leadership. Instead, he courageously faced the firing squad in defiance and inspired both the patriots and the whole population not to surrender to the Italians by excommunicating not only the faithful but also the land itself.
He was shot because of his resistance; thus the monument describing the action is seen within the street and square under his name just below the City Hall to the west. The original statue with full bishopric robe, a cross and a Bible in his hands, was replaced by the present one, which indicates the action of his murder with guns in chained hands. The first statue
is today found in the premises of St. George Cathedral in front of the bell tower where there is a small museum.