Dire Dawa is city in Harar region, Ethiopia. It is a
commercial and industrial center located on the Addis Ababa–Djibouti
railroad. Manufactures include processed meat, vegetable oil, textiles,
and cement. There are also railroad workshops in the city. Dire Dawa was
founded in 1902 when the railroad from Djibouti reached the area, and
its growth has resulted largely from trade brought by the railroad.
The climatic condition of
Dire Dawa seems to be greatly influenced by its topography,
which lies between 950 – 1250 meter above sea level, and which is
characterized by warm and dry climate with a relatively low level of
precipitation. The mean annual temperature of Dire Dawa is about 25.40C. The average maximum temperature of
Dire Dawa is 31.40C, while its average minimum temperature is about
18.20C. The region has two rain seasons; that is, a small rain season
from March to April, and a big rain season that extends from August to
September. The aggregate average annual rainfall that the region gets
from these two seasons is about 604 mm. On the other hand, the region is
believed to have an abundant underground water resource.
According to the 1994 census, the total
population was 151,864, of which 127,286 were males and 124,578 females. Dire Dawa has become home for peoples from a number of nations
and nationalities found in the country as well as for people from India,
Yemen, Turkey, etc.2.4.
LANGUAGES AND RELIGION
Language and Religion:
A number of Ethiopian Languages including Oromiffa,
Amharic, Somali, Guragigna, Tigrigna, Harari, etc. are widely spoken in
Dire Dawa by the people from the various nations and nationalities
living in Dire Dawa. Amharic is used as a working language in the city.
Arabic also serves as a medium of communication in some sectors of the
The presence of conducive environments like similarity
in lifestyles, closeness and friendship among the people of the city
have contributed to the creation of a unique blending of custom
thattranscends any cultural and language barriers. As a result of this,
nearly all the people living especially in the central and eastern
sections of the city are able to speak two or more languages. The
predominant religions practiced in the region are Islam and
Christianity. However, we can find people from other religious groups
like Hindu and the like in the city.
Dire Dawa has a rich wealth of pre-historic
cave paintings some of which have achieved international recognition
through the efforts of the French and American Geologists that have
studied them several times in the last 75 years, while there are still
other caves that have never been studied so far.
The remains of the British airmen and African soldiers
who, during the second World War, fought besides the Ethiopian forces to
liberate Ethiopia from Italian occupation.
The railway line that reached Dire Dawa in 1902 is
believed to have been the reason the city came into being in the first
place. That is why the railway station is one of the destinations of
tourists and other visitors coming to the city.
Kefira is a traditional market place where one can see
the colorful presentation of all people of the region in their cultural
dresses. The presence of camels, donkeys, and the inevitable Gharris,
two wheeled carts drown by a horse or a mule, gives it an aura of going
back to medieval times.
This is one of largest mosques found in the city. It is
called Italian Mosque because the Italians built it during their
short-lived occupation of Ethiopia.
St. Michel’s Catholic Church was built over 115 years
ago, and is located 26 kilometres from the city near a place called Beyo
Awale. During the month of October Catholic believers from Dire Dawa,
Harar, and other place annually gather at the church in there thousands.