Italian authors consistently represented Addis Ababa as a non-urban city, with no permanent structures or monuments worthy of the name. Planners, in their texts, depicted it as a nearly blank slate on which they laid out their grand designs. But in fact, Addis Ababa was already an important market hub participating in the world economy despite its geographic remoteness. It harbored a large international presence, both commercial and diplomatic. The market hosted a Saturday crowd of 30,000 to 50,000 people, offering imported goods from North America, Britain, and India, and attracting European, Armenian, and Indian traders.2 Long before Haile Selassie’s reign, under Menelik II (1889-1913), Ethiopia had nearly doubled in size by conquering its neighbors; and the Emperor had invited British, French, Italian, Russian, and German ambassadorial representatives to establish themselves in the wooded northeastern area just outside of the city.3 In 1906, he had also commissioned the building of St George’s (Coptic) Church – from a Greek architect and an Italian engineer – just north of the market on a high point, symbolizing the capital’s expansion far outside the imperial palace complex (or ghebi ) itself (Figure 9.1).4