Addis adds Unity Park to its attractions
Unity Park, built at a cost of five-billion-birr grant from various sources and initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD, Nobel Laureate), was inaugurated and opened for visitors as of October 10, 2019.
The inaugural ceremony of the Park saw various Heads of States and as well as high level government officials in attendance. Among the attendees were President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, PM Abdullah Hamdok of Sudan, President Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed of Somalia, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan.
The Park, which takes more than 20ha out of the 40ha compound and where the Office of the Prime Minister is located, features six attraction sites.
It was disclosed that five of the attractions inside the park has been opened for visitors since October 10, while the sixth attraction – a zoo inside the park – will be ready within a month’s time. The now opened five attractions are the historical buildings, indigenous plants exhibition, indigenous black mane lion zoo, a green area and the nine regions’ pavilion. Furthermore, the park will also feature more than 1000 display items.
According to Tamrat Haile (PhD), a project coordinator that led the construction of the park, the historical sites in the park had been previously renovated, including by the Italian firm Varnero. However, it was not open for the public and its situation deteriorated through time. This renovation was done on seven buildings inside the palace compound, which are now the major part of the attraction inside the park.
While landscaping was one of the main tasks the construction of the park required, it has consumed a large quantity of soil (6000 trucks) delivered to the site. ALEC Engineering and Contracting LLC (Alec), a Dubai company, did the landscaping.
In addition, the park will also feature one of the early cars in the country, which is still drivable. This car was put into the site, according to a recommendation by members of the Taxi Drivers’ Association, Tamrat said.
One has to pay 200 birr for a regular ticket to visit the park and 1000 birr for a VIP ticket, while foreigners will pay USD 20 for a regular visit and USD 50 for VIP entrances.
The payments can be made using four payment methods. Namely: texting to 6030, online at unitypark.et, credit card transfer to an account opened by the name of the Park at the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, and by a Point of Sale machine at the gate. All the methods of payment are cashless, which the Office of the Prime Minister wants in promoting and facilitating a cashless society.
While there is no time limit in which one can stay inside the park, the time allotted for visits ranges between 10am in the morning to 4pm in the evening.
The logo of the park that mimics locked hands blended in the map of Africa, was meant to reflect the national interest for peace in the African continent, Tamrat explained adding that the other colors used in the park are just meant to attract children and others.
The name of the park is also said to reflect the horizontal and vertical Medemer (synergy), representing the history of the country and the geographical linkages in the country.
Built by 1,600 laborers and experts in various fields, the park can accommodate 1,500 visitors a day. While fully operational, the park will employ 200 employees raising the current number of park employees by a fold.
Giving credit to the Prime Minister’s efforts in the follow-up of the project, it was said that the project would not have been realized had it not been for the PM’s strict follow up and a three times a day visit to the project site.