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Djibouti city

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Djibouti city

Template:Native name
Template:Native name
Template:Native name

Panorama of Djibouti City

Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Pearl of the Gulf of Tadjoura
Location in Djibouti

Coordinates: 11°35′18″N 43°08′42″E / 11.58833°N 43.14500°E / 11.58833; 43.14500Coordinates: 11°35′18″N 43°08′42″E / 11.58833°N 43.14500°E / 11.58833; 43.14500

Country  Djibouti
Region Djibouti Region
Founded 1888
Districts 27
 • Capital 630 km2 (240 sq mi)
 • Urban 100 km2 (40 sq mi)
Elevation 14 m (46 ft)
Population (2013)
 • Capital 623,891
 • Density 990/km2 (2,600/sq mi)
Time zone East Africa Time (UTC+3)
Area code(s) +253

Djibouti (Arabic: جيبوتي‎, French: Ville de Djibouti, Somali: Magaalada Jabuuti, Afar: Gabuuti) is the capital of and most populous settlement in the Republic of Djibouti, which is named after it. It is located in the coastal Djibouti Region on the Gulf of Tadjoura.

Home to around 600,000 inhabitants, the city contains over 60% of the nation's population. The settlement was founded in 1888 by the French, on land leased from the ruling Somali and Afar Sultans. During the ensuing period, it served as the capital of French Somaliland and its successor the French Territory of the Afars and Issas.

Known as the Pearl of the Gulf of Tadjoura due to its location, Djibouti city is strategically positioned near the world's busiest shipping lanes and acts as a refueling and transshipment center. The Port of Djibouti is the principal maritime port for imports to and exports from neighboring Ethiopia. Additionally, the city hosts a number of foreign embassies, and is the headquarters of many international organizations, non-profit organizations and companies. Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport is the main domestic airport, connecting the capital to various major global destinations.


Djibouti City is the capital and largest settlement in Djibouti, situated in the Horn of Africa. Two thirds of the country's population live in the town. The city is located on the Gulf of Tadjoura seaboard, right across from Yemen.

Local features include beaches along its eastern shore and the large Central Market, the national Stade du Ville arena, the Presidential Palace and Hamoudi Mosque.

Djibouti has the status of being both a city and a state. It is also the seat of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), as well as several other continental and international organizations. The city serves as the nation's cultural and industrial center.


Main article: History of Djibouti
Historical affiliations

France French Somaliland 1896-1967
United Kingdom British Occupation 1942-1943

France French Territory of the Afars and the Issas 1967-1977
Djibouti Republic of Djibouti 1977–present

From 1862 until 1894, the land to the north of the Gulf of Tadjoura was called Obock. It was ruled by Somali and Afar Sultans, local authorities with whom France signed various treaties between 1883 and 1887 to first gain a foothold in the region.[1][2][3]

The French subsequently founded Djibouti city in 1888, with the area at the time uninhabited. A few years later, in 1896, the settlement was made the capital of French Somaliland.[4] It then served as the headquarters of the succeeding French Territory of the Afars and Issas.

When Germany invaded France in 1940, Djibouti became the Vichy French control. In response, the United Kingdom closed the port, but it could not prevent local French from providing information on the passing ship convoys. In December 1942, about 4,000 British troops occupied the town. Djibouti city had about 22,046 residents. By 1940 there were 26,987 residents and by 1950 the population has grown to 34,564.

Since independence in 1977, the city has served as the administrative and commercial capital of the Republic of Djibouti.


Djiboutian population is divided into several human components: the Afars and the Somalis, the Muslim religion for the most part, that are traditionally attached to anthropological group Hamitic. Djibouti is a multi-ethnic city. It has a population of around 623,891 residents (Djiboutians), making it the largest settlement in the country. The city's urban landscape is shaped by many communities.

Although all ethnic groups are represented in the capital, the main languages are Somali and Afar. Arabic and French are also widely spoken and understood. English may be spoken at tourist facilities, but is not widely spoken by locals or taxi drivers. In in the colonial period, European expatriates, primarily French, would also contribute to Djibouti's population. Djiboutian-born descendants of these settlers as well as more recent arrivals from can be found throughout the city.


Djibouti's population is predominantly Muslim. Islam is observed by 94% of Djibouti's population, while the remaining 6% follow Christianity.

Religion Percentage
Muslim 94%
Christianity 6%



Djibouti City is situated in eastern Djibouti, approximately 21 km (13 mi) southeast of the Somalia border. It is a seaport, with the only sheltered harbour on the western side of the Gulf of Aden. The landscape around the city, along with Djibouti's coastal lowlands, is desert or semi-desert. The city's sandy beaches are popular tourist attractions and include Siesta Beach and Heron Beach. It is known as "Pearl of the Gulf of Tadjoura" due to its location.


Djibouti is generally very hot and dry throughout the course of the year. Featuring an arid climate (Köppen: BWh), the city sees on average 131 mm (5.16 in) of rainfall per year. Temperatures range from very warm during the months of December, January and February, to extremely hot in July. There are two seasons: a dry season from May to October and a relatively cool season from November to April. The rainfall on the coast usually occurs between November to March, whereas in the interior it falls between April to October. In the summer months, temperatures routinely exceed 40 °C (104 °F), with oppressive humidity adding to the uncomfortable conditions. Sunshine is abundant in the city, averaging eight to ten hours a day year-round. It is lowest during the wet season, when there is some coastal fog and greater cloud coverage as warm air passes over the cool sea surface. This climate zone has warm summers reaching a maximum temperature of 42 °C (107 °F) and summer lows of 32 °C (89 °F). Winters are warm reaching a maximum low of 21 °C (70 °F) and a maximum high of 28 °C (83 °F). There are barely any days in the year without sunshine, and even during the winter there are many clear days.

Climate data for Djibouti City
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 34
Average high °C (°F) 28.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 25.1
Average low °C (°F) 21.5
Record low °C (°F) 19
Rainfall mm (inches) 10.0
Avg. rainy days 3 2 2 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 2 2 17
 % humidity 74.6 74.7 75.1 76.9 72.6 62.6 45.8 48.7 64.5 68.3 74.2 71.3 67.44
Mean monthly sunshine hours 244.9 220.4 263.5 273.0 316.2 282.0 260.4 275.9 279.0 297.6 285.0 272.8 3,270.7
Source #1: Hong Kong Observatory[5]
Source #2: BBC Weather[6]
Average sea temperature[7]
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
26 26 27 28 30 30 31 29 30 30 28 27

Djibouti Region

The Djibouti Region is one of the six regions of Djibouti. It borders the Gulf of Tadjoura to the north and east, and the Arta Region to the south and west. The Djibouti Region is the smallest province in the country, but also the region with the highest population. Containing Djibouti's capital Djibouti City, the province occupies an area of 200 square kilometres.


Djibouti City is home to different architectural styles that represent various periods in its history. The old section is filled with bazaars and souks nestled along narrow streets. It is serves as both a center for commerce and entertainment, as well as a residential area. A few of the building fronts have been renovated and date back to the 19th century. On account of its numerous exotic edifices and structures, the city has also been likened to a European settlement and described as a "French Hong Kong in the Red Sea".[8]


Djibouti city has been the capital of Djibouti since independence in 1977. Situated on the Gulf of Tadjoura, it was the logical choice as the young republic's administrative center. Following independence in 1977, Djibouti city continued with its status as the country's political and cultural hub. It is the seat of the government and home to all the national institutions: the government house, the parliament, ministries, the presidential palace, the vice-presidential residence, the constitutional court, judicial bodies and other public organisations.


As Djibouti city is the most populous city in Djibouti, it has a vibrant cultural life. For much of its recent history, the town was characterized by roadside markets and small shops that sold a wide variety of goods. The culture of Djibouti city has evolved under the influence of many different peoples and civilizations, including Somali, Afar, Yemeni and French traditions. The capital is home to a large number of mosques in various architectural styles dating from different historical periods. Five times a day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of the city's many masjids. Additionally, the local opera is a traditional form of musical theater well-known throughout the nation.


As in the rest of Djibouti, football is by far the most popular sport. The city is home to Stade du Ville Stadium, which plays host to the Djibouti Cup and to football teams from the Djibouti Premier League. Djibouti city has established a high-profile reputation as a host city of international sporting events. At the beginning of the 20th century a number of sports institutions were established in Djibouti city, particularly in school and college settings.


Djibouti city has long been a center of media in the country. The first forms of public film display in the city and Djibouti at large were newsreels of key events during the early colonial period. The Djibouti city–based Radio Television of Djibouti is the principal national public service broadcaster. RTD broadcasts 24 hours a day, and can be viewed both within Djibouti and abroad via terrestrial and satellite platforms. Djibouti also hosts modern Djiboutian traditional music. Several newspapers, magazines and printing facilities have their offices in the city. Djibouti is also a center for broadcast media, with a number of radio and television stations broadcasting from there.


Annual events and celebrations of Independence Day (27 June), the Muslim festivals of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha feature prominently in the city's cultural observances, events, and celebrations. The traditional Independence Day parade is held in the city. Throughout the year, local, national and international events are also held here.


Djibouti city has long been renowned for its diverse cuisine. Traditional Somali, Afar and Yemeni delicacies are served alongside international dishes; particularly French culinary staples. The Yemeni dish mandi is also a popular meal, particularly as a lunchtime meal. Several other popular dishes feature seafood and meat, including the Fah-fah spicy boiled beef soup.

Main sights

Hamoudi Mosque

The Hamoudi Mosque was built in 1906 by Haji Hamoudi. It is among the older standing masjids in the city. Its size and prominent location have made it a local landmark.


Djibouti city has several public parks, the most famous of which is Lagarde Park. It is a popular destination for family gatherings, picnics and sightseeing.


Foreign visitors to Djibouti city usually like to visit the shops in Rue de Bender (Bender Road), where myriad things ranging from traditional fabrics and leather products can be found at bargain prices.


As the capital of and largest settlement in Djibouti, most local businesses have their headquarters in Djibouti City. Djibouti Telecom, the largest telecommunications company in the country, is based here. During its existence, Djibouti Airlines also had its head office in the city.[9] Djibouti city is the financial hub to many entrepreneurial industries ranging from construction, retail, import and export, Internet cafes, and companies that process remittances from relatives abroad who send money.

Port operations from the vicinity of Djibouti City are the chief economic activity of Djibouti. The city's port is the terminus for Ethiopian oil transport and export. Increase in railway infrastructure pending a contract agreement in 2012 will further enable Ethiopian and Eritrean oil to reach the capital.


Tourism in Djibouti is centered in the Djibouti region. City landmarks include historic buildings, two important public squares, and the Hall of the People. Many private companies offer organized tours of these sites. Known as the "Pearl of the Gulf of Tadjoura", the city's sandy beaches are also popular tourist attractions.

Khor Ambado lies on the outskirts of Djibouti city, around fifteen kilometers from the city center. A popular local attraction, this beach has a number of restaurant establishments overlooking the sea. Doraleh is another beach situated about ten miles from the capital, on a paved road that winds through the dunes of volcanic rocks. With its main restaurant, Doraleh is a favorite hangout on Fridays leading up to the weekend. Other prominent beaches in the city include Siesta Beach and Heron Beach.

Another notable city landmark is La Place du 27 Juin, a street named after Djibouti's independence day. The Place Mahamoud-Harbi (formerly Place Rimbaud) was similarly named in honor of a prominent local figure, erstwhile Vice President of the Government Council Mahmoud Harbi.


Djibouti city has over 40 hotels. Most are situated within the capital area or along the Djibouti Palace Kempinski's beachfront. Many of the hotels are in a modern Western architectural style, such as the Hotel La Siesta and the Sheraton Djibouti Hotel located on the waterfront.



The local Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport offers flights to numerous global destinations. As of 2012, the largest services using the airport include Yemenia, Air France, Flydubai, Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Kenya Airways. It is the largest airport in Djibouti and serves as a major gateway for travellers to the Horn of Africa and the world. Located approximately 6 kilometres (5 mi) from the city centre, the airport was opened in 1948. Originally a modest-sized facility, the airport grew considerably in size in the post-independence period after numerous successive renovation projects. Outbound international travel from the Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport accounts for the majority of all air passengers traveling to and from Djibouti. Due to its strategic location, the facility acts as a civil aviation hub for the rest of the country. This makes for a large number of departures and arrivals, and it is not unusual for flights to be delayed in the holding pattern before landing. Djibouti city is improving its international connections, and numerous non-stop flights provided by various airlines connect the area with other global destinations. Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport currently ranks as the 829th busiest airport on the continent.


Djibouti City is a major transportation hub, served by a comprehensive public transport network. Roads leading out of the city connect it to other national localities and to Somalia and Ethiopia. Public transportation is provided through buses stationed at the Djibouti City Bus Service Enterprise. Green and white share taxis are also available, though they are less frequently used. The city at large serves as a point of intersection for the main roads and highways linking different parts of the country. It is one of the most accessible cities in the country, where one can find public and private transportation 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. A significant number of the city's residents are dependent on the city's informal minibuses and taxis. The main bus hub in Djibouti city is the Central Bus Station, located in the crossing of Rue de Bender. A fleet of 400 green-and-white taxis provide additional road transportation at all hours.


Djibouti City leads the country in maritime traffic and serves as a major seaport. Daily shipments bring in vehicles, foodstuffs and electronic goods, among other items. The port is also used for international trade, for fishing, and for travel by ferry to the cities of Obock and Tadjoura. The port is a hub for ships in the west of the Gulf of Aden: it is located along one of the busiest shipping corridors in the world.


Built between 1894 and 1915 during the colonial period, the Ethio-Djibouti Railways connected the city with Addis Ababa. Although the railway is no longer operational, there are plans for the construction of a new modern rail line in the near future. Long-distance rail lines connect Djibouti City with other major cities in the southern part of the country as well as with cities in neighboring Ethiopia.


Long a national centre of education, Djibouti City is home to many elementary and high schools. The University of Djibouti, established in 1977, is also based here. Public primary and secondary schools in the capital are run by the Ministry of Education.


Djibouti City is home to the Armoured Regiment Djibouti. Its base is the only active duty military installation within the city.

Sister cities

Country City
 Italy Rimini
 Maldives Malé
 United States Key West
 Malta Victoria
 Egypt Suez
 Saudi Arabia Jizan
 Sudan Port Sudan
 Yemen Aden
 Slovenia Izola
 United States Kailua
 Mexico La Paz
 Spain Algeciras
 Sudan Khartoum
 Nicaragua Granada

Notable people


External links

Djibouti portal


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