Mercato - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Mercato


The Mercato is the largest outdoor market in Africa and Addis' most colourful sight. There are tinkers, tailors, spice merchants, camel traders, and purveyors of just about every possible commodity under the sun - including, of course, wonderful Ethiopian coffee. Needless to say, it is a great place to pick up souvenirs. Mercato really is an exhilarating place to visit although probably not for the faint hearted. With animals wandering the streets, vendors hollering, the pungent aromas of local dishes and a riot of colour and sensations, you will find a visit here to be a memorable experience.

This is a pick-pocketing hotspot though, so be careful with your valuables. Wear a money belt under your clothes rather than keeping cash in an accessible place. Bargain hard as prices are enormously flexible and foreigners are routinely charged 3-4 times the going rate. Be careful of purchasing antiques and historical artifacts as without a certificate they may be confiscated at the airport.

Information & Facts

Amharic is the official language, although over 80 local languages are also spoken. English and Arabic are widely spoken as well as some French and Italian.

The official currency is the Ethiopian Birr (ETB), which is divided into 100 cents. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks and authorised hotels. Credit cards have limited usage outside of Addis Ababa, and even in the capital they are only accepted by major establishments. Visitors should carry a supply of travellers cheques or hard currency with them, preferably in US dollars. ATMs are sparse, but banks are usually open every day except Sundays from 8am to 11am and 1pm till 4pm.

Local time is GMT +3.
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