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Mekelle (Tigrinya: መቐለ, Amharic: መቀሌ, romanized: mäqälle, mek’elē) or Mekele, is a special zone and capital of the Tigray Region in Ethiopia. Mekelle was formerly the capital of Enderta awraja in Tigray. It is located around 780 kilometres (480 mi) north of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, with an elevation of 2,254 metres (7,395 ft) above sea level. Administratively, Mekelle is considered a Special Zone, which is divided into seven sub-cities. It is the economic, cultural, and political hub of northern Ethiopia.

Mekelle has grown rapidly since 1991 with a population of 61,000 in 1984, 97,000 inhabitants in 1994 (96.5% being Tigrinya-speakers), and 170,000 in 2006 (i.e. 4% of the population of Tigray). Mekelle is the second-largest city in Ethiopia after Addis Ababa, with a population of around 545,000. It is 2.6 times larger than Adigrat, the second-largest regional center. The majority of the population of Mekelle depends on government employment, commerce, and small-scale enterprises. In 2007, Mekelle had new engineering, cement, and textile factories, producing for the local and foreign markets. Mekelle University developed out of the pre-1991 Arid Agricultural College, and about a dozen other governmental and private colleges were created.

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