Algeria
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ORAN

Oran, in Arabic Wahran, is located at the centre of the Oranie region, of which it is the capital. It is also the second largest town and the second largest port as well as the economic metropolis of the Western region.
Oran is located in an open bay and is dominated at the west by the mountain Aïdour.

Oran was founded in 903 by the Arabs of Andalusia under the name of Ifri. The port of Oran developped rapidly, and the town quickly became properous. Trading relations with the mediterranean countries began under the Zianides dynasty of Tlemcen.

The Spanish, which stayed in Oran for a couple of centuries (until the beginning of the 18th century) left their mark on various monuments such as Santa-Cruz. In 1791, following an earthquake (2.000 victims) and attacks from the Bey of Mascara, the king of Spain, Charles VI, negociated the surrender of Oran with the Dey of Algiers.

The French invaded Oran in 1831. From 1962, after the independence, its activities as trading metropolis started again and it experienced a great expansion symbolised by the construction of numerous buildings such as the university campus.

There are plenty of sites to visit in Oran since it is one the richest towns of Algeria. Indeed the ruins are symbol of its history:
  • The Mosque Mohamed Ben Othman, known as Mohamed El Kébir for liberating Oran from the Spanish. The Bey built it for his grave.
  • The Mosque Djamaa El Pacha was built in 1796 by the Bey Mohamed Ben Othman, it was dedicated to the Dey of Algiers
  • The Fort : it is located on the cliff road outside Oran, it was built by the Spanish in 1742.
  • Santa-Cruz : when the Spanish took hold of Oran at the beginning of the 16th century, they fortified Santa-Cruz
  • Place du 1er novembre : it is the most famous place of Oran, decorated at the centre by a stele at the effigy of the Emir Abdelkader. The theatre Abdelkader Allouala is also located there.
  • The old part of the town, especially the Gènes street and la Calère, the first and oldest district, which Albert Camus used for his novel la Peste (the Plague).
  • The ALN boulevard, or sea front, promenade by the port and the Mediterranean sea
  • The green theatre, where all the open air galas take place in the summer. To get to the theatre, you have to cross a very nice garden, which used to be called le Petit Vichy
  • The Blanca, Canastel gate, where all the trading traffic took place by the time of the Spanish
  • The Medina Djedida, where you can find commercial products
  • Various beaches : Bou Sfer, Bomo beach, Ain El Turck, Mers El Kébir bay, picturesque village where the old fort Djebel El Marsa was built in 1347.
It is very easy to find some very comfortable hotels as well as various restaurants of Algerian specialities.

Hotels

Phoenix, Rond point de l'aéroport, Es Senia, 041 41 89 91
Le Bel Air, 12 rue de l'Escalone, 041 45 54 32
Le Royal Hôtel, 03 boulevard de la Soumam, 041 39 31 44
Hôtel Résidence Le Timgad, 22 boulevard Emir Abdelkader, 041 39 47 97
Grand Hôtel, 05 place du Maghreb, 041 39 54 69

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