Dire Dawa (Amharic: ድሬ ዳዋ?, Oromo: Dirre Dhawaa, lit. "Place of Remedy",Somali: Dir Dhabe, meaning "Limit of the Dir", Arabic: ديري داوا) is one of two chartered cities (astedader akabibi) in Ethiopia (the other being the capital, Addis Ababa). It is divided administratively into two woredas, the city proper and the non-urban woreda of Gurgura.
Dire Dawa lies in the eastern part of the nation, on the Dechatu River, at the foot of a ring of cliffs that has been described as "somewhat like a cluster of tea-leaves in the bottom of a slop-basin." At a latitude and longitude of 9°36′N 41°52′E / 9.600°N 41.867°ECoordinates: 9°36′N 41°52′E / 9.600°N 41.867°E, it is the second largest city in Ethiopia.
The city is an industrial centre, home to several markets and the Aba Tenna Dejazmach Yilma International Airport. Haramaya University is 40 kilometers away.
Created in 1897 after the establishment of Alfred Ilg's Imperial Railway Company of Ethiopia, Dire Dawa—originally known by its period French spelling Dire-Daoua—grew up at the site of a former village known as Addis Harar (Amharic for "New Harar") upon the line's arrival in 1902. The company (which went bankrupt four years later) was already having financial difficulty and Ilg received permission from Emperor Menelik II not to complete the expensive climb to nearby Harar at its higher elevation. Instead, Addis Harar served as the terminus for the line linking the area with the French port at Djibouti and the potentially confusing name was changed to that of another nearby village, Dire Dawa. Harar's governor Ras Makonnen then linked the two cities with a new road.