Adama (Oromo Adaamaa or Hadaamaa, Ge'ez ኣዳማ ādāmā), better known as Nazret or Nazreth (ናዝሬት nāzrēt), is a city in central Ethiopia and the previous capital of the Oromia Region. Adama forms a Special Zone of Oromia and is surrounded by Misraq Shewa Zone. It's located at 8.55°N 39.27°E at an elevation of 1712 meters, 99 km southeast of Addis Ababa. The city sits between the base of an escarpment to the west, and the Great Rift Valley to the east.
Adama is a busy transportation center. The city is situated along the road that connects Addis Ababa with Dire Dawa. A large number of trucks use this same route to travel to and from the seaports of Djibouti and Asseb (though the latter is not currently used by Ethiopia, following the Eritrean-Ethiopian War). Additionally, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad runs through Adama.
Adama University (formerly Adama Technical Teachers College) is located in Adama. Adama Stadium is the home of Adama City FC, a member of the Ethiopian Football Federation league.
Following World War II, Emperor Haile Selassie renamed the town after Biblical Nazareth, and this name was used for the remainder of the twentieth century. In 2000, the city officially reverted to its original Oromo language name, Adama, though "Nazareth" is still widely used.
In 2000, the government moved the regional capital of Oromia from Addis Ababa to Adama, sparking considerable controversy. Critics of the move believed that the Ethiopian government wished to deemphasize Addis Ababa's location within Oromia. On the other hand, the government maintained that Addis Ababa "has been found inconvenient from the point of view of developing the language, culture and history of the Oromo people."
On June 10, 2005, the Oromo Peoples' Democratic Organization (OPDO), part of the ruling EPRDF coalition, officially announced plans to move the regional capital back to Finfinne (the Oromo name for Addis Ababa). This announcement occurred during the aftermath of Ethiopia's most democratic elections to date, in which the governing coalition lost all of its seats in Addis Ababa's municipal administration (see Ethiopian general elections, 2005). The opposition parties speculated that the move was intended as a way to split them along ethnic lines by inciting the largely non-Oromo residents of Addis Ababa to oppose the return of the Oromia government to the Ethiopian capital. The only comments from the opposition that the move inspired, however, was that the original move to Adama had been a massive waste of money, not to mention lives, as the government had cracked down on Oromo students who had protested the move from Finfinne to Adama. In any event, non-Oromo groups did not oppose the return of Oromia government offices to Addis Ababa.
Based on the 2007 Census conducted by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA), this city has a total population of 220,212, an increase of 72.25% over the population recorded in the 1994 census, of whom 108,872 are men and 111,340 women. With an area of 29.86 square kilometers, Adama has a population density of 7,374.82; all are urban inhabitants. A total of 60,174 households were counted in this city, which results in an average of 3.66 persons to a household, and 59,431 housing units. The four largest ethnic groups reported in Adama were the Oromo (39.02%), the Amhara (34.53%), the Gurage (11.98%) and the Silte (5.02%); all other ethnic groups made up 9.45% of the population. Amharic was spoken as a first language by 59.25%, 26.25% spoke Oromiffa and 6.28% spoke Guragiegna; the remaining 8.22% spoke all other primary languages reported. The majority of the inhabitants said they practiced Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, with 63.62% of the population reporting they observed this belief, while 24.7% of the population were Muslim, and 10.57% were Protestant.
The 1994 national census reported this town had a total population of 127,842 of whom 61,965 were males and 65,877 were females.
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