Keren Restaurant   Photo: Africa Access

Location: 1780 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

Keren Restaurant is named for Keren, a mountain city that is the second-largest city in Eritrea. Near to Keren is the Debre Sina monastery, one of the oldest monasteries in Eritrea. It was the site of the first Holy Communion prepared in the Eritrean Orthodox Church, by the 4th-century bishop Aba Salama.

“The mountain city Keren is the largest of the five major secondary towns in Eritrea with a population of 120,000 and the regional capital of the Anseba Region. The majority of the population are Muslim. There is a distinctly Muslim feel to the town (”


Murals of Keren in Karen Restaurant

Photo credit: Africa Access


“Eritreacountry of the Horn of Africa, located on the Red Sea. Eritrea’s coastal location has long been important in its history and culture—a fact reflected in its name, which is an Italianized version of Mare Erythraeum, Latin for “Red Sea.” The Red Sea was the route by which Christianity and Islam reached the area, and it was an important trade route that such powers as TurkeyEgypt, and Italy hoped to dominate by seizing control of ports on the Eritrean coast. Those ports promised access to the gold, coffee, and slaves sold by traders in the Ethiopian highlands to the south, and, in the second half of the 20th century, Ethiopia became the power from which the Eritrean people had to free themselves in order to create their own state” (

“Eritrea’s population consists of several ethnic groups, each with its own language and cultural tradition. In addition to the languages spoken by the various ethnic groups, Arabic and English are widely understood. Italian is occasionally used as well…. The bulk of the people in the Eritrean highlands are Tigray. In Eritrea that group is sometimes called Tigrinya …. The Tigray make up about half the country’s total population. They also occupy the adjacent Ethiopian region of Tigray. The Tigrinya language is one of two major indigenous languages in Eritrea” (



“Keren Ethiopia”. Accessed 9/15/2020.

Last, Geoffrey. “Eritrea.” Encyclopedia Britannica. . Accessed 9/15/2020