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Places of Power: Ethiopia’s historic Hilton & luxurious Sheraton

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This article is part of the dossier:

Secret Places of Power

By Samuel Getachew

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Posted on August 31, 2022 13:02

 © Hilton in Addis Ababa
Hilton in Addis Ababa

At the headquarters of the African Union, there’s a host of secret deals and meetings that take place behind the famed walls of the Hilton and the Sheraton: the two iconic hotels in the capital.

This is part 3 of a 7-part series

Hilton: Dawn of a new era

When Ethiopia’s Hilton opened its doors more than 50 years ago near the end of the era of Emperor Haile- Selassie, it quickly became Addis Ababa’s landmark hotel. Then the shantytown diplomatic capital of the continent and host to the headquarters of the African Union, it would be its first international hotel where the elite and the middle-class held much of their milestone.

Opened in 1969 by the emperor, it was the set for the 1970’s Hollywood movie, Shaft in Africa, where the NYPD detective character John Shaft is driven inside an old Russian Lada taxi into the hotel, later pausing next to a lion in front of the long signature corridor that leads one to the grand entrance of the hotel.

Hilton Addis held Jazz nights in its spacious nightclubs hosting the likes of the Godfather of Ethiopian Jazz, Mulatu Astatke, a young man

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