Asmara Modern

Eritrean women in traditional dress pass an apartment building, formerly the Palazzo Bahobesci, built in 1936 and recently renovated. Asmara has such a wealth of modernist buildings from the 1930s and after that locals pay them no special attention.

The Fiat Tagliero service station, designed by Italian architect Giuseppe Pettazzi and built in 1938. Probably the best example of futuristic architecture in Africa, the structure (no longer a service station) was freshly painted a few years ago and may be converted into a coffee shop.

Asmara's bowling alley, built in the late 1960s. One of the few places where locals and expatriates go for recreation, the alley is not fully automated, which means the pins have to be set by hand.

Asmara's Cinema Roma underwent a major renovation three years ago. The cinema, built in two phases under different Italian architects (Roberto Cappellano, 1937, and Bruno Sclafani, 1944), now includes a popular coffee shop and is decorated with items from its history, such as the projector seen here.

The façade of the cinema, partly clad in marble, shows the strong influence of the Italian Art Deco style.

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