Asmara, Eritrea, the nation's capital and largest city. About 500,000 people live there. It is in the west-central part of the country and lies on a high plateau at an altitude of more than 7,000 feet (2,100 m). Asmara's products include textiles, cement, glass, beer, and processed food. The city has an international airport and is connected by railway and highway with the Red Sea port of Massawa, 40 miles (64 km) to the northeast. The city is the home of the University of Asmara. The city was taken by Italy in 1889 and made the administrative center of the Eritrea region in 1897. Asmara, like Eritrea as a whole, became a part of Ethiopia in 1952. In 1993, after Eritrea became independent, Asmara became the national capital.
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