Asmara: Africa's Art Deco Capital

Most African cities can be dangerous after dark; some are perilous even by day. Not so Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, and one of the prettiest—and most architecturally alluring—places on the continent. Here you can walk safely throughout the city, the better to marvel at the heritage of great buildings left over from the half-century of Italian rule that ended when the Allies ousted Mussolini's troops from the Horn of Africa in 1941. There are graceful villas that seem plucked straight from an Italian hilltop, wonderful Art Deco factories and warehouses, and monumental Italian-fascist government offices.

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