Altitude: 1,680 m. Population: 220,000 inhabitants. Distance from Addis Ababa: 346 km.
Main city of Western Ethiopia and former capital of the Kaffa region, Jimma, an important commercial centre, has always enjoyed great prosperity due to its rich natural environment and its position as a crossroads. In addition to its immense wood reserves, the fertile soils allow for a varied agriculture that has always been dominated by coffee cultivation. This wealth allowed the Oromo monarchy to maintain its power over the province until the beginning of the 20th century, thanks to the important tribute it paid to its powerful Christian neighbour to the north. Soon after, this potential earned Jimma the favour of the Italians, who invested in the development of the city. The architecture of several public buildings is still visible evidence of this recent development. The commercial vitality of the city is expressed in particular on the occasion of the main market held there every Thursday, the largest in the region, which brings together between 20,000 and 30,000 people! Also in town, there are numerous stalls offering basketry, jewellery and all sorts of wooden objects, from three-legged stools to these huge armchairs carved from a single piece, a true local speciality (although increasingly rare).
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