Despite being the third-largest city in Eritrea, Keren has a relaxed, small-town feel and, like Asmara, it has some fantastic Italian architecture, but the principal attraction is the bustling markets. Silver and gold jewelry is cheaper there than in Asmara, though the selection is not as good. Wood carried into town on camels is sold in a dry riverbed, and a large market for livestock, most notably camels, is held every Monday. Though Keren is easily reached via a well-maintained highway and has some good quality hotels, the city sees few foreign visitors. Keren lies at a strategic junction and was hotly contested during World War II and later during the Eritrean fight for independence—look for abandoned tanks along the highway as you drive there. 55 mi/90 km northwest of Asmara.

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