This area at the southern end of Churchill Avenue is the nearest thing the city has to a central business district. There is a small cluster of commercial and government buildings and hotels centred around the railway station, dating from the completion of the French-built Djibouti-Addis Ababa railway in 1917, which gives the area its name.
There is a limited amount of residential accommodation, mostly in characterless concrete apartment blocks overlooking the main roads. There is one good supermarket on Churchill Avenue, opposite the Lyce Franco-Ethiopienne, as well as numerous pastry shops a favourite with office workers at lunchtime. The busy shopping areas of Piazza and Merkato are only a short minibus ride (or a longer walk) uphill.
The national theatre and the football stadium are also in this area. Immediately to the south lies Cherkos, a densely-populated area inhabited by the poor and very poor, living in slums and very modest state-owned homes. Still further south is Kera, another crowded low-income area famous for its abattoir. If the wind is blowing in the wrong direction the smell can be overpowering.
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Ras Mekonen Ave, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia