What to do and see in Massawa, Eritrea: The Best Places and Tips

July 25, 2017 Agatha Simes

Massawa, also known as Mitsiwa, Miṣṣiwa, Batsiʿ, is a city on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea located at the northern end of the Gulf of Zula beside the Dahlak Archipelago. An important port for many centuries, it was ruled by a succession of polities, including the Axumite Empire, Medri Bahri Kingdom, the Umayyad Caliphate, various Beja sultanates, the Ottoman Empire, Egypt, Italy, Britain, and Ethiopia, until Eritrea's independence in 1991. Massawa was the capital of the Italian Colony of Eritrea until this was moved to Asmara in 1897.

1. Ferrovia Coloniale Massawa-Asmara

Massawa, Eritrea
Excellent
58%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
0%
Terrible
7%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 14 reviews

Ferrovia Coloniale Massawa-Asmara

Reviewed By Ihab Z - Eastpointe, Michigan

On our first tour planned for Eritrea, the trip included Asmara and the deserted town of Massawa. I have to say that despite how destroyed and how ruined the old city is, it had an amazing character. You almost feel you are walking into an old history chapter book.. the streets are semi-deserted, the beautufil Ottoman homes, and colonial buildings and majestic turn-of-the century palaces are nothing but ruins. That by itself added so much charm. The photo ops are amazing and people in this old town are very friendly and invite you into their humble homes. We did not have enoygh time to visit some of the Islands but Massawa deserves an added day to enjoy its nature as well. The Red Sea, clean and unexplored is so different tghan the Red Sea you encounter in Egypt where it is overbuilt and so modern you feel you are in Vegas. No visit to Eritrea is complete without visiting Massawa.

2. Memorial Plaza for Victims of Massawa Battle

In front of St. Mariam Cathedral, Tuald Island, Massawa, Eritrea
Excellent
34%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
33%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 3 reviews

Memorial Plaza for Victims of Massawa Battle

Reviewed By BPJH - Chiang Rai, Thailand

The printed history of Eritrea's last century or so is moving and terrible enough, but these tanks (and the little boats outside the museum) are a reminder of the thousands of lives lost as Eritrea pursued its ultimatey successful dream of independence against such withering and endless odds.

3. Former Imperial Palace

North of the gates of the Dahlak Hotel, Massawa, Eritrea
Excellent
25%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
50%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 4 reviews

Former Imperial Palace

Reviewed By BPJH - Chiang Rai, Thailand

We were told that Haile Selassie had stayed here when he was on his imperial travels and that, after the building's destruction in the war with Ethiopia, it had been left in ruins as a monument to the wickedness and futility of empire.

4. Covered Bazaar

Batse Island, Massawa, Eritrea
Excellent
0%
Good
100%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 2 reviews

Covered Bazaar

Reviewed By わたか - Tokyo, Japan

スーク跡。中東にいるような感覚に陥ります。お店はありませんが歩くだけでもすごく楽しいです。この近辺はトルコ時代の建築物やモスクが集合しており、スーク跡に限らず周囲も併せて散策するといいかと思います。

5. St. Mariam Cathedral

Tiwalet Island, Massawa, Eritrea
Excellent
0%
Good
100%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 2 reviews

St. Mariam Cathedral

Reviewed By わたか - Tokyo, Japan

マッサワ戦戦没者追悼広場の東側にある美しい教会です。アスマラから訪れTiwalet島に入った場合、戦車の次に見る教会ではないでしょうか。建物正面教会内部ドア前の壁画は必見。まじまじと見ていたら右奥にエリトリア人の教会関係者の休憩所でお茶を頂きました。

6. Adulis

30 miles south of Massawa, Gulf of Zula, Massawa, Eritrea
Excellent
0%
Good
50%
Satisfactory
50%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 2 reviews

Adulis

Reviewed By albertopiccardo - Genova, Italia

Il luogo è fuori dalle normali rotte turistiche, bisogna ottenere i permessi, ma se si trova una guida locale non è poi difficile arrivarci da Massaia con un fuoristrada. Nella vicina Foro c'è possibilità di mangiare. Il luogo è abbandonato per una gran parte dell'anno, gli scavi durano pochi mesi l'anno. Ma se avete la fortuna di trovare una buona guida locale vi spiegherà quello che è stato scavato. Era un porto sul mar Rosso della civiltà Axumita, ma oggi dista circa 7 km dal mare. Alcuni edifici fanno comprendere l'importanza del sito che è ancora molto da scavare.

7. Former Banco d'Italia

Batse Island, Massawa, Eritrea
Excellent
0%
Good
67%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
33%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 3 reviews

Former Banco d'Italia

Reviewed By わたか - Tokyo, Japan

こちらも旧皇帝宮殿同様に破壊されています。が、すごく貴族の邸宅のような美しい建物です。柱や天井のアーチが美しい。アフリカらしからぬ、立派な建物です。この旧イタリア銀行の周囲にも美しい建物が多々あるのですが、その中に警察署として使われているの建物もあるので、写真撮影に注意してください。

8. Shaafi Mosque

Massawa, Eritrea
Excellent
0%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
100%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

3 based on 1 reviews

Shaafi Mosque

Reviewed By わたか - Tokyo, Japan

このモスクの歴史はアフリカで最も古いらしいとのことで訪れたのですが、個人的には散策がてらちょこっと見る程度でよいと思いました。

9. Massawa Mosque

Massawa, Massawa, Eritrea
Excellent
0%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
100%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

2 based on 1 reviews

Massawa Mosque

Reviewed By michael c - Stockholm, Sweden

it is worth a stop when in Masswa. Did not venture inside, but enjoyed the area and the surrounding.

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