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Dire Dawa

Dire Dawa is one of two chartered cities in eastern Ethiopia (the other being the capital, Addis Ababa). Dire Dawa was founded in 1902 after the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway reached the area. The city is an industrial centre on the Dechatu River. The French-built train station can give you a 19th century feeling. At night and early in the morning, the Dechatu river basin has a heartwarming sunset and sunrise scene. Twice yearly there is a religious ceremony at the nearby city of Kulubi.
The fourth-most populous city in Ethiopia, Dire Dawa usually elicits strong reactions. Dire Dawa is known for its colourful storefront, tree-lined streets, neat squares, and foreign influence (look for Arab, French, Italian and Greek styles in some of the architecture and design),