Dire Dawa or Dire Daua is one of the two cities of Ethiopia that enjoy a special status, the other being the capital, Addis Ababa. According to calculations of 2008, Dire Dawa has a population of 607,321 inhabitants, which makes it the second largest city in Ethiopia. The city is an industrial center, it has several markets and an international airport. Dire Dawa is located in the east of the country, on the banks of the Dechatu River and at the foot of a ring of gorges. In October 2016, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway was inaugurated and stops at Dire Dawa.
It is an international gauge railroad linking Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, with the port of Djibouti in the Gulf of Aden, providing rail access to the sea to Ethiopia. The standard-gauge railroad replaces the old railway from Adis Ababa to Djibouti, metric, which was abandoned in 2006 and was built by the French between 1894 and 1917.