Mekelle (Tigrinya: መቐለ, Amharic: መቐለ or መቀሌ), also transliterated as Makale or Meqele, is the capital city in the northern Tigray Region of Ethiopia. It is located around 780 kilometers north of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, at a latitude and longitude of 13°29′N 39°28′E / 13.483°N 39.467°E / 13.483; 39.467Coordinates: 13°29′N 39°28′E / 13.483°N 39.467°E / 13.483; 39.467, with an elevation of 2084 meters above sea level. Administratively, Mekelle is considered a Special Zone, which is divided into seven sub-cities. These are Adi Haki (ዓዲ ሓቂ), Ayder (ዓይደር), Hadinet (ሓድነት), Hawelti (ሓወልቲ), Kedamay Weyane (ቀዳማይ ወያነ), Quiha (ኲሓ), and Semien (ሰሜን). This places the city in between the Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa chartered cities (astedader akabibi, equivalent to a kilil), as well as the Axum and Adigrat woredas. The city is an economic, cultural, and political hub in the Northern region of the country.
Mekelle is one of Ethiopia's principal economic and educational centers. Intercity bus service is provided by the Selam Bus Line Share Company and its city bus service provided by Amora buses. A new international standard airport, Alula Aba Nega Airport (ICAO code HAMK, IATA MQX), awas opened and it has direct flights from the capital city of Sudan, Khartoum. Local industry includes Mesfin Industrial Engineering, a steel fabrication and manufacturing factory which also have car assembly line and Messebo Cement Factory, northern Ethiopia's principal cement production facility; both are companies owned and managed by the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT). In May 2000, Mekelle University was created by the merger of Mekelle Business College and Mekelle University College, and a number of private Colleges and Universities located in the city are providing diploma and Bachelor degree programs.
There are two primary local landmarks in this city. The Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) monument commemorating the struggle against and overthrow of the Derg, is visible from any where in the city - pictured below. The monument is above 50m heigh, standing on a large mound which makes the monument appear bigger than its actual size.
The other is the palace of Yohannes IV at the center of Mekelle. It was built at the Emperor's command by Giacomo Naretti, who had served Yohannes already at Debre Tabor, with the assistance of William Schimper, and completed in 1884. The complex still stands and now serves as a museum, where the Emperor’s throne, royal bed, ceremonial dress, rifles and many other valuable historical collections can be seen.