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Massawa

From Academic Kids

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ST-Massowa.jpg
Massawa in the 19th century

Massawa or Mitsiwa (Template:Coor dms) is a port on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea. Important for many centuries, it has been colonised by Portugal, Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, Britain and finally Italy from 1885. It became the capital of Eritrea until this was moved to Asmara in 1897.

The town grew from Wushti Batsi (Massawa Island) to Taulud Island and the mainland, which are now linked by causeways. Notable buildings in the city include the fifteenth century Sheikh Hanafi Mosque and various hoses of coral. Many Ottoman buildings survive, such as the bazaar. Later buildings include the Imperial Palace, rebuilt in 1872 for Werner Munzinger; St Mariam Cathedral; the 1930s Villa Melotti and the 1920s Banco d'Italia. Many were damaged in the Eritrean War of Independence, commemorated in a memorial of three tanks.

Massawa was once the largest and safest port on the east coast of Africa, and as the largest deep-water port on the Red Sea was the headquarters of the Ethiopian Navy. The city suffered considerable damage during the Eritrean War of Independence, but is currently being rebuilt by the Eritrean government.

Massawa is also home to a naval base, large dhow docks, an airport and a railway line to Asmara. Ferries sail to the Dahlak Islands and nearby Green Island.

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