History of Hawassa


Hawassa city, formerly called Awassa, was founded near the Lake-Hawassa. It is located in between Shashamane, and Yirgalem town which are about 25 and 45 K.m away from the city. It is about 275 km far from Addis Ababa. Geographically, Hawassa city is located in between 7o5’Latitude North and 38.o28 longitude to East.The lake and the land along the edge of the lake have got different names in Sidama Language.The Lake has been called ‘Hawassa”, which means ‘big’ in Sidama language; and the land nearby it was called ‘Ada’are’, equivalent in meaning to the phrase “ “ “the field of cattle”. As it is comfortable place for rearing animals. Hence, the town established in the land adaare has got its name from the lake -Hawassa.The inherent attractiveness of the lake Hawassa was the major inspiring reason for the people to establish the town in this site. So far, the place was not occupied by residents; rather, it was used by pastoralists for raising their livestock. As the access of water and grasses for their cattle caught the attention of high land people, they used to make frequent visit to this area, and settled here.

The Earliest Villages
During its foundation, Hawassa town was classified in to four villages; namely,  “Harar sefer”,”Addis Ababa Sefer”, “Korem Sefer” and “Wukiro sefer”. These were named so in accordance with origin of 404 commissioned soldiers camped in here coming from different corner of the country with the mission given by  Emperor Haileselassie. The Emperor ordered them to replace jangle of “Adaare” by modern farm. This mission was put in to practice by support of Ato  Mulugeta Bulli-the then Ministry of Community Development. To execute the mission, the soldiers  came to Hawassa in two phases: the first 80 came from Addis Ababa in 1952 E.C ,and the rest from ‘Harar’,’korem’ and ‘Wukiro’ in 1953 E.C. Hence, the villages they occupied were named accordingly.


Upgrading to Woreda Town Level
Hawassa was promoted to woreda town by legal transference of Abela Woreda. When the conflict between Arsi Oromo and Sidama getting worse in Hawassa, Ras Mengesha Seyoum ordered Abela woreda officials to transfer to Hawassa, settle there, and resolve the dispute timely and easily. Even though Abela residents refused the transference, Emperor Haileselassie approved the proposal of Ras Mengesha irrespective of the appeal of Abela woreda residents. Consequently, Abela Woreda was transferred to Hawassa. After some times elaps, the new office and different hotels were built in Hawassa. From hotels, Bekele Molla and WabiShebele No2 were a case in point. Moreover, well known individuals built their villas in the plot of land near by the lake. For instance, Afework Tekle, the Most Honorable, Maitre Artist, the World Laureate- build his villa near lake Hawassa. This gradual establishment and upgrading was made at the back side of present Telecommunication office of Hawassa.