the Unesco-listed African city you’d never thought to visit


For all its image as an unfathomably huge landmass of wildlife-filled savannahs, vast unforgiving deserts, great lakes and giant rivers meandering soupily through flood-prone deltas, Africa is a continent of important and fascinating cities.

Cape Town, Cairo, Johannesburg, Marrakech, Fez, Nairobi, Port Elizabeth and Windhoek are all urban enclaves which might well attract your attention. As, indeed, is Tunis, if you feel like returning to a country that has endured a turbulent time for much of this decade.

But Asmara? There, perhaps, is a name that will make you scratch your head – and pose a fair question, not so much of whether you should go there as to where the hell it is.

The answer is that Asmara is the capital of Eritrea, a sliver of a country which adorns the Horn of Africa. It sits…

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