Asmara facts for kids

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ኣስመራ Asmera
Piccola Roma - ፒኮላ ሮማ
Panorama of Asmara
Panorama of Asmara
Official seal of Asmara
Nickname(s): Piccola Roma "Little Rome"
Map of Asmara in Eritrea
Map of Asmara in Eritrea
Country Eritrea
Region Maekel Region
Districts 13
Demonym Asmarino/Asmarinos
 • Land 4,694.3 sq mi (12,158.1 km2)
Elevation 7,628 ft (2,325 m)
Population (2009)
 • Total 649,000
 • Density 138.3/sq mi (53.38/km2)
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)

Asmara is the capital city of Eritrea. It is the largest settlement in the country. Asmara has a population of about 579,000 people. Textiles and clothing, meat, beer, shoes, and ceramics are the major industrial products of the city.


Asmara grew from four villages founded in the twelfth century. It is said that there were four clans living in the Asmara area. The women of these tribes told them men to join together to fight bandits who had been attacking the area. After they defeated the bandits, a new name was given to the place, Arbaete Asmara. This name, in the Tigrinya language, meant the four females united. Arbaete was later dropped and the name was made Asmara.

In 1889, Asmara became an Italian colony. It was made the capital of the country in 1897. The city was damaged during earthquakes in 1913 and 1915. During the 1930s, the Italians made many chances to how Asmara looked. Many new buildings were created during this time. This buildings were built in the same style as Italian buildings. This gave Asmara the look of an Italian city. Today many of the buildings and stores in Asmara still have Italian names.

During World War II, after the defeat of Italy in Africa, Asmara was under British rule. In 1952, the United Nations placed the country and Asmara under Ethiopian control. In the 1960s, the Eritrean people started fighting for independence from Ethiopia. This war lasted until 1991. Asmara was given back to the Eritrean people on May 24, 1991.

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