Jimma, also Jima, (Italian Gimma) is the largest city in southwestern Ethiopia. The town was the capital of Kaffa Province until the province was dissolved. Prior to the 2007 census, Jimma was reorganized administratively as a special Zone. Herbert S. Lewis states that in the early 1960s it was "the greatest market in all of southwestern Ethiopia. On a good day in the dry season it attracts up to thirty thousand people." Its northern suburb of Jiren was the capital of a large Oromo kingdom until the late 19th century. Originally named Hirmata, the city owed its importance in the 19th century to being located on the caravan route between Shewa and the Kingdom of Kaffa, as well as being only six miles from the palace of the king of Jimma. According to Donald Levine, in the early 19th century the market attracted thousands of people from neighboring regions: "Amhara from Gojjam and Shoa, Oromo from all the Gibe Kingdoms and numerous representatives of the Lacustrine and Omotic groups, including Timbaro, Qabena, Kefa, Janjero, Welamo, Konta and several others". The present town was developed on the Awetu River by Italian colonialists in the 1930s. At that time, with the goal of weakening the native Ethiopian Church, the Italians intended to make Jimma an important center of Islamic learning, and founded an academy to teach fiqh.Some buildings survive from the time of the Jimma Kingdom, including the Palace of Abba Jifar. The city is home to a museum, Jimma University, several markets, and an airport. Also of note is the Jimma Research Center, founded in 1968, which is run by the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research. The Center speciales in agricultural research, which includes serving as the national center for research to improve the yield of coffee, and spices.