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Kombolcha is located in Ethiopia
Location in Ethiopia
Coordinates: 11°4′N 39°44′E / 11.067°N 39.733°E / 11.067; 39.733
Country Ethiopia
Region Amhara Region
Zone Debub Wollo Zone
Elevation 1,842 m (6,043 ft)
Population (2005)
 - Total 68,766 (est)
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)

Kombolcha is a city and woreda in north-central Ethiopia. Located in the Debub Wollo Zone of the Amhara Region, it has a latitude and longitude of 11°4′N 39°44′E / 11.067°N 39.733°E / 11.067; 39.733 with an elevation between 1842 and 1915 meters above sea level. Some guide books describe Kombolcha as the twin city of Dessie which lies some 13 km to the Northwest.

This city shares Combolcha Airport (ICAO code HADC, IATA DSE) with neighbouring Dessie. It is also home to Kombolcha Steel products, a metalworking factory that is part of MIDROC, a conglomerate owned by billionaire Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi.[1] Another industry in this town is the Kombolcha Textile Factory (KTF), which announced 9 March 2009 that it was beginning a 190 million Birr modernization project to improve the quality of its projects. At the time of the announcement, the KTF exported its goods to Italy, Sweden, Belgium and China.[2]


Tadesse Tamrat records that archeologists discovered "some remains of Christian settlements", dated to the late first millennium of the current era.[3]

When the missionary Johann Ludwig Krapf was led as a prisoner from Adare Bille's capital to the Teledere House of the Wollo Oromo in April 1843 he passed Kombolcha, which he described as a village near the source of the Borkana River.[4]

Kombolcha was described during the Italian occupation as having postal and telephone service, a clinic, a spaccio ("tobacco shop"), barrack village of the A.A.S.S. as well as other improvements intended for Italians.[5]

Kombolcha was used as a base by the United Nations relief organization and other humanitarian groups during the 1984 famine. On 19 November 1989 the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) claimed to have captured Kombolcha. However, the highway from Kombolcha to Assab was not fully brought under TPLF control until the Derg was expelled from Tigray later that year.[5]


Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Kombolcha has an estimated total population of 68,766 of whom 36,102 are men and 32,664 are women. The woreda has an estimated area of 8.66 square kilometers, which gives Kombolcha a density of 7,940.60 people per square kilometer.[6]

The 1994 national census reported a total population for Kombolcha of 39,466 in 8,643 households, of whom 18,995 were men and 20,471 were women. The three largest ethnic groups reported in this town were the Amhara (91.34%), Tigrayan (5.85%), and the Oromo (1.29%); all other ethnic groups made up 0.52% of the population. Amharic was spoken as a first language by 93.02%, 5.2% Tigrinya, and 1.11% spoke Oromiffa; the remaining 0.67% spoke all other primary languages reported. The majority of the inhabitants were Muslim, with 57.42% of the population having reported they practiced that belief, while 41.71% of the population said they professed Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity.[7]


  1. ^ "Kombolcha Steel Industry Goes into Production" (Addis Tribune, last accessed 26 October 2007)
  2. ^ "Factory executing 190 mln birr modernizing project", Walta Information Center (accessed 13 March 2009)
  3. ^ Taddesse Tamrat, Church and State in Ethiopia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), p. 37 n. 4
  4. ^ Journals of the Rev. Messrs. Isenberg and Krapf, Missionaries of the Church Missionary Society, Detailing their proceedings in the kingdom of Shoa, and journeys in other parts of Abyssinia, in the years 1839, 1840, 1841 and 1842, (London, 1843), p. 390
  5. ^ a b "Local History in Ethiopia" The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 23 February 2008)
  6. ^ CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.4
  7. ^ 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Amhara Region, Vol. 1, part 1, Tables 2.1, 2.7, 2.10, 2.13, 2.17, Annex II.2 (accessed 9 April 2009)


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