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Djibouti (Arabic: جيبوتي) is the capital and largest city in Djibouti and has an estimated population of roughly 400,000. It is located in the southeast of the country on a peninsula that divides the Gulf of Aden from the Gulf of Tadjoura. The city was founded in 1888 as a seaport and nowadays still functions this way and on top of that it is the cultural, economical and administrative centre of this small country. Although the city has not that much to offer, it has a charm of its own and gives the traveller the opportunity to have a look in one of the lesser known countries in the world.
Marché Central located on Blvd De Bender in the capital is an amazing market that is worth checking out. The market starts pretty early in the morning and doesn't end until the late afternoon. The best time to visit the market in order to see the most activity is around 1 pm. The market is very crowded and extremely load with the choir of car horns and hawkers.
New Year’s Day in Djibouti is celebrated with fervor. Schools and offices are closed and everyone puts on a festive sprit. New Year’s Eve parties are held everywhere and continue on until daybreak.
Djibouti’s Independence is celebrated on June 27 each year. The date commemorates the country’s liberation from France and highlights the best of their local traditions. Expect lively and colorful themed parades (which changes every year), as well as speeches from important dignitaries. There is plenty of dancing, singing and general merriment in addition to a military parade which showcases the different equipment the national army has at its disposal. The parade is conducted by troops from Germany, France and the USA, all led by an amusing marching band. A presidential address marks the commencement of the day's activities.
This 30-day fast in July is marked by devotional practices where women sing praise songs and read poems in their native tongue. The breaking of the fast begins with a sunset prayer after which people don’t consume anything but affur food. Ramadan ends with the Feast of the Sacrifice, which is also celebrated with prayer, rituals, and abundant food.
Fest’Horn is a special celebration of music in mid-December. This regional event was created to bring global attention to music from the Horn of Africa, and is marked by performances from artists in different genres.
Only a few Djiboutian are devout Christians, but Christmas is still widely observed on December 25. Christian churches are decorated with lights and candles and midnight mass is held, complete with choir singing.
Djibouti has a hot and relatively dry semi-desert climate, but the humidity during some months of the year can be very high. Combined with the high temperatures, being here is almost unbearable. May to September are very hot with average day temperatures close to 40 degrees Celcius, but 47 degrees has been recorded during high summer. Although this is also the dry period it is very unpleasant. From October to May temperatures are still high and mostly around 30 degrees or more and this is when the occasional rain showers occur. High humidity prevails during this time.
Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport (JIB) receives all international flights, among which are those with the national airline Djibouti Airlines. Destinations include Addis Ababa, Aden, Borama, Boosaaso, Dire Dawa, Dubai and Hargeisa. Daallo Airlines has flights to and from London, Paris and Dubai. Air France flies to Paris and Kenya Airways to Nairobi, Yemenia to Sana'a and Eritrean Airlines to Asmara.
Trains travel between Djibouti City and the Ethiopian city of Dire Dawa. Trains leave three times a week in both directions and it takes around 13 hours to cover the route.
There are daily Toyota Landcruisers travelling between Djibouti City and Hargeisa in Somaliland (Somalia), but it is a rough 20 hour ride.
Buses travel from Djibouti city to almost any town in the country on a daily basis. Buses leave when full and it is best to show up early to secure a seat.
Although there is no fixed scheduled, there should be a couple of traditional dhow travelling between Djibouti City and Mokha in Yemen. It takes around 20 hours to cover this route. To add, there should be crossings to the southern port city of Aden in Yemen as well.
Domestic destinations by dhow and speedboat include Obock and Tadjoura on the other side of the Gulf of Tadjoura. They leave several times daily and take around 3 hours.
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