Asmara – The city of Angels

DSC0124-1024x680I have recently returned from African Continental Championships held in Asmara, Eritrea! What a eye opening and humbling experience! In Eritrea, you look outside and see the poverty, but the people are happy, friendly and content. One of the locals described Asmara as “the city of angels” and I couldn’t agree more!

Here is a collection of my favourite photo’s from my trip to Eritrea.


IMG00228-20111111-2035An evening walk in the streets of Asmara is a must do. It is very safe and festive. We stopped for a gelato in a local bar along the way. There was a real 70’s vibe going, with people sitting at tables chatting and disco lights flashing inside.


Eritrean women blessing the streets of Asmara with popcorn during the African Continental road race.


The beautiful view of the valley off the edge of the plateau, a piece of heaven.



Cherise Taylor and I sharing a moment while crossing the finish line! The African Continental Championships was a great team building experience for the South African women’s team.

Eritrea is a very peaceful country. The people are hard working and very welcoming!

I received an overwhelming response to my Eritrea blog posts, especially from Eritrean’s, local and living abroad. I would like to thank the Eritrean people for their true enthusiastic support and warm welcome to their country! Eritrea is a wonderful place.


33 thoughts on “Asmara – The city of Angels

  1. Sammy

    Hey Ashleigh,

    Great post! I loved the photos of women and children. It is always gratifying to hear and read unbiased comments about Eritrea and the people in general. We are hospitable people and we would love you to come back again soon.



  2. Daniel Gebreselassie


    I read your comments and impression about Eritrea and was very happy. Not because you said positive but you reviled the truth that many don’t know and thus see Eritrea in a negative way as the result of the ongoing demonization of Eritrea by the Ethiopian regime as well as a number of journalist that haven’t been at all in Eritrea. Thank you again and also congratulation for wining the race. Hopefully, You will visit Eritrea in other occasions.




  3. bibi

    Hey, you said it the city of the Angles, If i am not biased, I totally agree with your statment.

    As an Eritrean, born and bred in Asmara and keen cyclist. I am Proud and thank you four your kind comments and ou have given me the reason to visit South Africa the beaon of light and freeedom of Africa.

    Spread the good word of Africa nad Africans we can do better and live in peace and harmony……




  4. Tes

    Ashleigh Moolman Pasio

    Thanks for sharing your experience in Asmara, Eritrea. You see now why Eritrean from all over the world pay thousands of dollars to visit their country every year as I did just this past summer. I already miss it.


  5. Aman

    Hello Ashleigh,

    First of all congratulations to you, your team mates & South Africa for winning the 7th African Continental Cycling Championship on the women’s division. I read your beautiful and interesting article on your blog about Eritrea and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your fairness and kind words you had to say about Eritrea & its people. Eritreans at home & abroad are very proud of the successes of our National Men’s & Women’s cycling team. The competition has left a lasting positive impression on Eritreans and it is my hope that the peace loving & friendly Eritrean people also left a deep and lasting friendly impressions on all the other teams that participated in the competition.

    Thank you again and I wish you, your team & South Africa continued success.

    Aman N.


  6. Yohannes Debesai

    Dear Ashleigh,

    You and Cherise did an amazing competition and showed us an excellent performace in Asmara. I was happy to watch the games via Eritrean Television.

    Your post is delighting !

    You will have the support of the Eritrean people in your international competitions, including the Olympics. I am sure you will represent us well as Africans.

    I hope you will consider training in high altitude of Asamra in the future or may be a second visit to Eritrea. Visiting during May 24th, Eritrea’s Independence day, is great with an amazing festivity. We paid so much for Eritrea’s Independence and the Celebration is to the extent to reflect the sacrifice.

    I am a cycling fan and do road biking for fun.

    God bless you !

    Good luck in your upcoming events !

    Yohannes Debesai,
    Washington, DC


  7. Fekar

    Selam Ashleigh,

    Am very happy to read your article. Congratulation on your victory. Am sure it is sweet. I sincerely hope the smiles of my compatriots remain in your heart forever…

    Please make time to visit again so you can enjoy the sandy beaches of Massawa.

    You will always be very welcome.

    Best Regards.


  8. Amanuel

    Thank you Ashleigh for sharing with us those memmorable pictures and your positive comments about Eritrea and its people. I’m glad to hear that you and your team mates from SA had a wonderful time in Eritrea during the ACC championship in Asmara.
    Not to sound too egomaniac but Eritreans by nature are very hospitable who often go out of their way to make sure visitors feel at home.
    I’m sure many will appreciate you for taking the time to share your experiences in Eritrea during your brief stay, for the image of what Eritrea is about is more believable with high credibility if been told by the outsider.
    It’s sad but true that Eritrea’s image in the world, particularly the west, is almost opposit to how you described it. The reason? well!! it’s another story for another time.
    Lastly, I wish you and all the South African Cyclists best of luck on your future endeavor.



  9. Habtom Hadgu

    Congrats Ashliegh to you and your teammate. What a great event and experience to all of us.

    I am glad to hear you enjoyed your trip to Eritrea. You are always welcome in Eritrea and we hope to see you back in eritrea.

    Habtom Hadgu
    Boston, Massachusetts.


  10. montasir

    we would like to thank you and hope to see you in Asmara in the future again, and wish all the best in the Olympics as you representing our continent peace to you sister


  11. Habte hadgu

    Dear Mrs. Taylor,
    I was follwing the championship from Heidelberg Germany. I would like to conguratulate you for your great effort.
    You are always well come to the (as you mentioned it) city of Angeles.

    Best Regards


  12. Daniel

    Thank you for seeing our beloved city through your innner eyes. We love you because you feel our love for our city and our people. We are deeply honoured that you came to Asmara and saw Asmara with your heart. You are our sister, God bless you and keep you safe.


  13. Sam Paulo

    Dear Ashleigh!
    am really excited when i read your “my Eritrea blog posts” and read all the content very interesting like i didn’t knew my home town ” ASMARA”.I truly appreciate your way of expression …..uhhh sorry i have to say you first congratulate…..Thank you for coming through with the exceptional and remarkable report in such short period of stayed in Eritrea.
    wish you all the best


  14. sam

    Congrats on your victory, and for sharing your experience during your stay in Asmara. However, I have to disagree on the picture you posted “The city of Asmara is run down….” I had the opportunity to visit and to live in Asmara for few years, and my observation is quite the opposite of your posting. In fact, the city of Asmara is famous for its unique architecture and for its well maintained infrastructure. I would put Asmara a small size beautiful city. According to Unesco ” Asmara represents perhaps the most concentrated and intact assemblage of Modernist architecture anywhere in the world.” ( I apologize if I am wrong, but that picture looks from the old town of city of Massawa, just looking at the design of the building.
    Thanks, Sam


  15. Tedros Dawit

    Hi Ashleigh How are you? I have seen your e mail about Asmara so I m exterimly happy.As you now our cit is delectful climt frindly peple and a low crimeret from all over the world.I m sure you are one of the witness.However I have seen one photo from your trip which was for now Let keep in touch.If you have a time.Hop to see you again.


  16. amanuel

    hi ashel thank you for your comment about beloved my capital city of my country eritrea
    visit again the people are frendily i wish good in your life.

    amanuel from usa.


  17. Aron

    We have a very popular song of wedding in Eritrea “Asheleigh ho asele asele Asheleigh ho abmeda asele” that means you are well come please land. So that is your name and please well come Eritrea is your second home becouse you are peace lovein, great role model of Womens Cycling. We love you; wish you all the best and you are the winner in the Olympic of 2012. We are proud of you and Soth Africa.


  18. Aster

    Thank you for sharing your experiences of Eritrea.
    As an Eritrean, I often talk about my country to friends and colleagues and it is heart warming to see such views is echoed through other nationals who had a chance to visit.

    I will look forward to you sharing your experiences and photos of your future trips to Eritrea, perhaps maybe visiting all the historical places including those refreshing scenery.

    In the mean time I will follow you through you’re cycling, and I wish you all the best.


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