in the presence of great heads of states.Unity Park is located in the premises of the Grand Palace and it is composed of various historical, natural and cultural sites.The Grand Palace, where Unity Park is located, was established in 1887 and without counting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (Dr.), the palace served as the living and working space of seven Ethiopian leaders. The palace covers an area of 40 hectares and contains myriads of historical buildings and plants that date back to the time of Emperor Menelik II.
This Banquet Hall was built during the reign of Emperor Menelik II in 1898 - 1899. When the Hall was constructed, the Emperor used to host a feast daily, later these lavish dinners were only held during religious and coronation ceremonies as there was a rise in the number of guests. The banquet hall hosted many historical events throughout the years. In 1963, Emperor Haile Selassie held a state dinner for the founding fathers of the Organization of African Union (OAU). In 1979 it hosted the conference of the Commission for Organizing the Party of the Working People of Ethiopia (COPWE). Recently, in May 2O19, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (Dr.) hosted a 5-million-birr fundraising dinner named as "Dish for Shegger" for the beautification of Addis Ababa project. The banquet hall has had several renovations over the years.
The throne house is about a hundred years old. In the upper throne hall of the building, where the Ethiopian Emperors throne was located; the monarchs used to give audience to and confer with the nobility and foreign dignitaries. The room found at the back of the throne house was used to host banquets as well. Since 1974, the upper room of the throne house has been used as a meeting hall for Derg members. The basement, which was initially used as a wine cellar during imperial times, was later used as a prison cell for senior officials of Emperor Haile Selassie by the Derg where they were held captive for eight years. Due to the political turmoil at the time, the basement was also used by the regime to torture and persecute numerous prisoners. Currently, the main exhibition of Unity Park Museum is housed in this building. As Ethiopia is made up of many nations, nationalities and peoples with diversified beliefs and political views, the museum's exhibits commemorate some of these Ethiopia's historical and cultural values. Including the room where the throne is located, the building has five exhibition rooms on the left, right, back and basement; these are the throne room, exhibitions of faith, mythology, government, and the revolution and the Red Terror.
The construction of Emperor Menelik II’s Palace Complex buildings began in the early 189O’s. Including the two-story an octagonal building which is commonly known as "egg house", this complex features Emperor Menelik II's bedroom and Reception Room, Etege Taytu’s dwellings, the Prince’s Bedrooms, and a small Banquet Room, all of which were connected through passageways. The Egg House, named because of the octagonal shape of its roof, served as Emperor Menelik II’s prayer room, his watchtower/balcony and his office. The pipe installed at the entrance of the prayer room was a means of communication between the prayer room and Menelik II’s office. In addition, the country’s first telephone line was installed in the two small walk-in closets along the passageway to Emperor Menelik II’s bedroom. The building found on the east end of the complex was built in 1931 and this structure made of timber was the council of Ministers’ meeting hall. The small single room building found to the west near Emperor Menelik II’s dwellings was waiting room of the Minister of War Fitawrari Habtegiorgis Dinegde, also known as Aba Mella.
The Pavilions were built in 2019. These regional pavilions contain information on the regions culture, history, heritage, natural resources and investment opportunities. As it was designed and organized by modern art, each regional state’s pavilion would best give visitors an insight into the material, spiritual and natural aspects of the respective region comfortably and efficiently through images, sound, illustrations and various sculptures.
The Indigenous Garden offer a brief look into local house-building techniques and numerous indigenous plants. There are plants of medicinal and aesthetic purposes, as well as plants used in making spices, food and beverages. Some of these plants are also used in wood works. The visitors also get a glimpse into the lifestyle, unique architecture and overall landscape of the rural areas in a way that is pleasing to the eye. Another attraction in this part of the park is houses built in the shapes of two camels and a turtle. Within the houses shaped like camels are educational videos and activities for children. In addition to these houses, there are large, handmade, modern art-inspired pieces, sculpted from trees that have grown and aged over the years right here in the palace. What makes the Indigenous Garden stand out from the other attractions is the fact that every aspect of it is handmade and no machinery was used in this part of the Park. Artisans of all kinds from different parts of the country have participated in putting together the Indigenous Garden.
The Black Mane Lions’ Zoo is one of the two zoos in Unity Park and features the endemic Black Mane lion, which it’s named after. This lion is mainly found in the Bale Mountains National Park, as well as Dedessa and Alitash National Parks. The Black Mane Lions’ Zoo, in addition to the Lions, also houses Ostriches. This zoo has a 175 meters long man-made cave, through which visitors have a better view of the Lions and Ostriches from the windows built for this very purpose. On the other side of these windows is a spacious landscape where the lions live. It also has Lions and Ostriches den, their food preparation and medical quarters as well as a cafe for visitors.
Unity Zoo, which is home to 37 mammals and various birds, is the first of its kind in our country. This zoo has nine exhibits, namely Meerkat, Aquarium, Peacocks, Cheetah, White Lions, Wild dogs, Gelada Baboons, Aviary and Safari. The first aquarium in Ethiopia is found within Unity Zoo and features over thirteen species of aquatic animals in three different exhibits. The other attraction in Unity Zoo is the Aviary, which has a stunning array of different species of birds, big and small. The Safari exhibit houses nine types of animals, namely Giraffes, Zebras, Kudu, Impala, Eland, Gemsbok, Nyala, Wildebeest and White Rhino. The two zoos in the park, namely the Black Mane Lions’ Zoo and the Unity Zoo, were built in a way that took the animals’ natural habitat into consideration.