May 3, 2015

1559 ETHIOPIA (Dire Dawa) - A market in Dire Dawa

Dire Dawa is one of two chartered cities in Ethiopia (the other being the capital, Addis Ababa), and also the second city in population (more then 340,000 inhabitants). It lies in the eastern part of the country, on the Dechatu Wadi (seasonal 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." As in the rest of Ethiopia, the population of this city is highly diverse, the main ethnic groups in the region being the Oromo (45%), Somali (42%), Amhara (9%), Gurage (3%), and Harari (1%). The religion with the most believers in Dire Dawa is Muslim with 70.8%, 25.71% are Ethiopian Orthodox, 2.81% Protestant, and 0.43% Catholic. The postcard depicts this diversity.

The city was founded in 1902 by the French, as the terminus for the railroad linking the area with the French port at Djibouti . As a result, it is an important center of trade between Djibouti and Addis Ababa, and home to several market centers, the biggest being Taiwan along with Qefira which is on the flood plain. Taiwan market is the "chat" market and the big market place which is frequented by Oromo, Somali, Issa and Afar people. Near Dire Dawa and what is now Kebele 01, trading happened in the town called Melka Jebdu. It has been the gateway for most of the goods sold in places such as Taiwan.

About the stamps
The first stamp, depicting Menelik's Bushbuck (Tragelaphus Scriptus Menelik), is part of a series containing 24 definitive stamps, about which I wrote here.

The second stamp is part of a series of churches issued on June 9, 2011:
• Zoz Amba St. George’s Monastery, Gonder (0.35 ETB)
• Meskele Kiristose Church, Wollo (0.65 ETB)
• Debre Damo Abuna Arewagi Monatery, Tigrai (3.00 ETB) - It's on the postcard

The last two stamps are part of the series Ethiopian Writers 2nd series, issued on September 8, 2012:
• Temesegen Gebre (0.20 ETB)
• Hiruy Woldeslassie (0.80 ETB) - It's on the postcard
• Yoftahe Nigussie (1.00 ETB)
• Afework Gebreyesus (2.00 ETB) - It's on the postcard

Dire Dawa - Wikipedia

Sender: Tianmeng
Sent from Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), on 04.06.2014
Photo: Hapte Selassie

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