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Asmara is the capital and largest city in Eritrea. The city has about 600,000 inhabitants and is located in the central part of the country at an elevation of over 2,000 metres at the north western edge of the Great Rift Valley. Asmara, compared to other capitals in Africa, is a beautiful city famous for its colonial building styles and in some aspects resembling a European city with styles like neo Romanesque, Victorian and Art Deco found throughout the city. Therefore, this place deserves at least a few days to explore, including the national museum, before going to other parts of this not so often visited country.
Because of the altitude, Asmara has a very pleasantly warm climate, much unlike the coastal areas which can get very hot. In general, temperatures are still well over 20 °C and it gets rather chilly at night. May generally is the hottest month, with temperatures even above 30 °C during the day. July and August are relatively wet, but from September onwards it is usually dry and warm.
Asmara International Airport (ASM) receives all international flights, among which those with the national airline Eritrean Airlines. International destinations include Djibouti, Dubai, Frankfurt, Jeddah, Milan and Rome. Lufthansa flies to Frankfurt and Jeddah as well. Other destinations with connections to Asmara are Nairobi, Cairo and Sana'a.
Eritrean Airways flies between the capital Asmara and the city of Assab at least twice a week.
There is a railway line between Asmara and Massawa, but services are infrequent and not timetabled. There are however extra trains that can be chartered by groups of tourists. It is a great journey!
There are at least two buses a day between Asmara and Massawa and Keren and at least one daily service to smaller cities and towns. Buses leave when full, so there is not timetabled service. It is best to show up early at the bus station for long journeys, to assure a seat.
See also International Telephone Calls
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