The People's House
Wednesday, January 11. 2023
The White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. is sometimes referred to as the People's House. Many visit the White House each year. Imagine if the White House property had the National Museum, zoo, aquarium, aviary, history museum, banquet hall, and replicas of historic homes from the different regions of the United States that all the visitors to the White House saw all on the same property? That is what we saw today.
Our family visited Unity Park. It was Emperor Menelik II who built the grand royal palace in Addis Ababa in 1887 on the property that is now known as Unity Park. Eight monarchs and prime ministers have lived at this palace. Unity Park encompasses the residence of the Ethiopian Prime Minister and includes museums, zoo, aquarium, aviary, and historic regional homes all on the same property. Unity Park is less than three years old and was the vision of the current prime minister.
We saw black mane lions, black spotted African lungfish, flamingos, cranes, zebras, and our daughter's favorite, giraffes.
Our son was excited to see his favorite animal, a large turtle which was the Ethiopian leopard tortoise.
The history museum used video and moving panels to tell Ethiopia's history, beginning with Menelik I, who was the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, in 1000 B.C.E. It chronicled how King Solomon gave the Ark of the Covenant to his son, Menelik I who brought it to Ethiopia. Ethiopians believe that the original Ark of the Covenant is in Axum, Ethiopia. The enormous banquet hall hosted royal and state events. The design evoked Islamic influence both on the exterior and interior.
The crypt of the banquet hall was used as a prison during the Derg period of Marxist military dictatorship that followed the murder of Emperor Haile Selassie I. Videos told the stories of countless who died.
Our children loved playing at the children's park near the entrance. Lunch was at Five Loaves, a restaurant with a name obviously inspired by Jesus' miracle of providing enough food for at least 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. (Matthew 14)