Oran

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Oran
وهران
ⵡⴻⵀⵔⴰⵏ
Top, the two Lions of Atlas (symbol of Oran), Center, 1st November Place, fort & chapel of Santa Cruz, Bey Othmane mosque, Bottom, general view
Top, the two Lions of Atlas (symbol of Oran), Center, 1st November Place, fort & chapel of Santa Cruz, Bey Othmane mosque, Bottom, general view
Official seal of Oran
Seal
Nickname(s): The radiant " الباهية "
Location of Oran in the Oran Province
Location of Oran in the Oran Province
Oran is located in Algeria
Oran
Location of Oran within Algeria
Coordinates: 35°41′49″N 0°37′59″W / 35.69694°N 0.63306°W / 35.69694; -0.63306Coordinates: 35°41′49″N 0°37′59″W / 35.69694°N 0.63306°W / 35.69694; -0.63306
CountryAlgeria
WilayaOran
Re-foundedAD 944
Government
 • Wali (Governor)Saddek Benkada
Area
 • City2,121 km2 (819 sq mi)
Elevation0.9 m (3 ft)
Population (1998 for city proper, 2010 for metro area)[1]
 • City759,645
 • Metro1,454,078
Time zoneCET (UTC+1)
Postal codes31000 - 31037
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Oran
وهران
ⵡⴻⵀⵔⴰⵏ
Top, the two Lions of Atlas (symbol of Oran), Center, 1st November Place, fort & chapel of Santa Cruz, Bey Othmane mosque, Bottom, general view
Top, the two Lions of Atlas (symbol of Oran), Center, 1st November Place, fort & chapel of Santa Cruz, Bey Othmane mosque, Bottom, general view
Official seal of Oran
Seal
Nickname(s): The radiant " الباهية "
Location of Oran in the Oran Province
Location of Oran in the Oran Province
Oran is located in Algeria
Oran
Location of Oran within Algeria
Coordinates: 35°41′49″N 0°37′59″W / 35.69694°N 0.63306°W / 35.69694; -0.63306Coordinates: 35°41′49″N 0°37′59″W / 35.69694°N 0.63306°W / 35.69694; -0.63306
CountryAlgeria
WilayaOran
Re-foundedAD 944
Government
 • Wali (Governor)Saddek Benkada
Area
 • City2,121 km2 (819 sq mi)
Elevation0.9 m (3 ft)
Population (1998 for city proper, 2010 for metro area)[1]
 • City759,645
 • Metro1,454,078
Time zoneCET (UTC+1)
Postal codes31000 - 31037

Oran (Arabic: وهرانArabic pronunciation: [wahraːn], Algerian Darja: Wehran, ⵡⴻⵀⵔⴰⵏ) is a major city on the northwestern Mediterranean coast of Algeria, and the second largest city of the country. It is closely associated with its neighboring city, Aïn Témouchent. Located near the north-western corner of Algeria, 432 kilometres (268 miles) from the capital Algiers, it is a major port and the commercial, industrial, and educational centre of western Algeria.

It is the capital of the Oran Province (wilaya). The city has a population of 759,645 (2008[1]), while the metropolitan area has a population of approximately 1,500,000,[2] making it the second largest city in Algeria.[3]

History[edit]

Oran was founded in 903 by Moorish Andalusi traders.[4] It was captured by the Spanish under Cardinal Cisneros in 1509, Spanish sovereignty lasted until 1708, when the city was conquered by the Ottomans. Spain recaptured the city in 1732. However, its value as a trading post had decreased greatly, so King Charles IV sold the city to the Turks in 1792. Ottoman rule lasted until 1831, when it fell to the French.

During French rule over Algeria, Oran was the capital of a département of the same name (number 92). In July 1940, the British navy shelled French warships in the port after they refused a British ultimatum to surrender which was designed to ensure the fleet would not fall into German hands. The action increased the hatred of the Vichy regime for Britain but convinced the world that the British would fight on alone against Nazi Germany and its allies. The Vichy government held Oran during World War II until its capture by the Allies in late 1942, during Operation Torch.

Before the Algerian War, 1954–1962, Oran had one of the highest proportions of Europeans of any city in North Africa. However, shortly after the end of the war, most of the Europeans and Sephardic Jews living in Oran fled to France. A massacre of Europeans, four days after the vote for Algerian independence, triggered the exodus to France. In less than three months Oran lost about half its population.

Arabo-Berber Islamic period[edit]

Arab-Berber-Islamic period
Start yearEnd yearEvent
9101082Oran became a perpetual object of conflict between the Umayyads of Spain and the Fatimides of Kairouan.
10821145Presence of Almoravids. In 1145, Ibrahim ibn Tashfin perished in Oran while fighting against the already victorious Almohad troops in front of Tlemcen.
11451238Presence of Almohads. 1147 marked the beginning of persecution of Oran's Jews.
12381509Presence of the Zianides of Tlemcen and then the Marinid dynasty of Fes. The protection by the Emir, the customs system (tariffs), trade with Marseilles, and the Italian Maritime Republics of Genoa and Venice, with whom, in 1250, Oran signed a commercial treaty of forty years' duration, made the Oranians rich. So much so, that toward the end of the 14th century, celebrated Arab historian Ibn Khaldoun wrote the following, "Oran is superior to all other cities by its trade. It's a paradise for the unhappy one. Those who arrive poor in its walls, will leave it again rich." The city excelled in the export of lead, wool, skins, fine burnous, carpets, haïks, cumin, nuts, and galls, as well as the draft of black slaves.

Spanish period[edit]

The Santa Cruz Fort, Oran. Santa Cruz is Spanish for "holy cross"

Before the Spaniards, the Portuguese launched a failed expedition to capture the city in July 1501. Four years later, the Spanish took Mers-el-Kébir, located just four miles (6.4 km) to the west of the Oran. Thus began the first organized incursions against the city which, at the time, numbered 25,000 inhabitants and counted 6,000 fueros. Count Pedro Navarro, on the orders of Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, captured the city on May 17, 1509. The occupying forces went on to set fire to the books and archives of the town.[5]

By 1554, the Turks had reached Algiers, and then governor of Oran, Count Alcaudete, allied himself with Moroccan Sultan Mohammed ash-Sheikh against them. Nine years later, in 1563, Álvaro de Bazán, Marquis de Santa Cruz, built the fort of Santa-Cruz, strategically placed at the top of a mountain, l'Aïdour, more than 1,000 ft (300 m) above the sea, directly to the west of the city. Pedro Garcerán de Borja, Grand Master of the Order of Montesa, was captain of Oran when, on July 14, 1568, John of Austria (the illegitimate son of Charles I and thus the paternal half-brother of King Philip II), led a flotilla of 33 galleys against the Algerians.

In April 1669 the Spanish governor, the Marquis del los Vélez expelled all the Jews who lived in Oran and Mers El Kébir[6] sending them to be resettled in either Nice, and Livorno.

The Spanish rebuilt the fortress of Santa Cruz Fort to accommodate their city governors. "The fortifications of the place were composed of thick and continuous walls of over two and a half kilometers in circumference, surmounted by strong towers spaced between them," with a central castle or kasbah where the Spanish governor established his headquarters. The city under Spanish rule continued to grow, requiring enlargement of the city walls. In spite of the improved fortifications, the city was the object of repeated attacks. Notable in this regard, Moroccan Sharif Moulay Ismail tried to force his way past the defences in 1707, only to see his army decimated.

Ottoman period[edit]

The Bey Othmane Mosque

The Spaniards occupied the city until 1708, when the Turkish Bey, Mustapha Ben Youssef (Bouchelaghem) took advantage of the War of Spanish Succession to drive them out.

In 1732, Spanish forces, under José Carrillo de Albornoz captured the city from Bey Hassan in the Battle of Aïn-el-Turk.

In the night after October 8, 1790, a violent earthquake claimed more than 3,000 victims in less than seven minutes. Thereafter Charles IV saw no advantage in continuing the occupation of the city, which had become increasingly expensive and perilous. He initiated discussions with the Bey of Algiers. A treaty handing over the city was signed on September 12, 1792. After another earthquake had damaged the Spanish defences, Bey Ben Othman's forces took possession of Oran on October 8 of the same year. In 1792, the Ottomans settled a Jewish community there. In 1796, the Pasha Mosque (in honour of Hassan Pasha, Dey of Algeria), was built by the Turks with ransom money paid for the release of Spanish prisoners after Spain's final departure. In 1830 the Beys moved their capital from Mascara to Oran.

French period[edit]

Oran's city hall, dating from the French period.

The town of 10,000 inhabitants was still in the possession of the Ottoman Empire, when a squadron under the command of captain Bourmand seized el-Kébir on December 14, 1830. The city was in a wretched state. On January 4, 1831, the French commanded by General Damrémont occupied Oran. In September 1831, General Berthezène made Mr. Pujol, captain of cavalry in retirement and wounded at the right hand under the Empire, mayor of Oran. In 1832, at the head of five thousand men, a young Emir called Abd al-Qadir attacked Oran. In April 1833, commander-in-chief, General Boyer, was replaced by the baron Louis Alexis Desmichels. The city's defenders, under attack by Abd al Qadir, held their ground .

The Great Synagogue of Oran was confiscated and turned into a mosque, after Jewish Algerians were expelled in 1962.

Etymology[edit]

A mural depicting the slaying of the Terror of Oran

The word derives from the Berber root hr' meaning lion (see also Tahert and Souk Ahras). The name is attested in multiple Berber languages, for instance as uharu and ahra. A locally popular legend tells that in the period around 900 BC, there were sightings of lions in the area. The two last felines were killed in a mountain near the city of Oran, which is now known as La montagne des Lions ("The Mountain of Lions"). In fact, there are two giant lion statues in front of Oran's city hall, hence the twin lions' mountain is Oran's symbol.

Oran today[edit]

Today, Oran is a major port and a commercial centre, and has three universities. The old quarter of Oran has a casbah and an 18th-century mosque.

Oran has become a major trading centre for the wider area, serving Arzew, the area's oil/gas port as well as Sonatrach, the country's biggest oil and gas company. Sonalgas has built a new congress centre in Oran and in 2010 the 16th International Conference & Exhibition on Liquefied Natural Gas was held in the city of Oran, which attracted around 3,000 visitors and major companies from around the world. To accommodate all visitors, new hotels are currently being constructed and floating hotels will be used in addition.

Climate[edit]

Oran features a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk/BSh) with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Oran’s climate does show influences of a Mediterranean climate; however the combination of the city’s relatively high average annual temperature and relatively low annual precipitation precludes it from falling under that climate category. Oran averages 326 mm (13 in) of precipitation annually, the bulk of which falls between November and May. Summers are hot and dry with average high temperatures in the warmest month (August) approaching 32 degrees Celsius. Winters are mild in Oran, with high temperatures in the coolest month (January) at around 17 degrees Celsius.

Climate data for Oran
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)26.4
(79.5)
33.0
(91.4)
36.6
(97.9)
33.2
(91.8)
40.0
(104)
39.5
(103.1)
45.8
(114.4)
43.8
(110.8)
40.6
(105.1)
39.0
(102.2)
33.0
(91.4)
30.8
(87.4)
45.8
(114.4)
Average high °C (°F)16.6
(61.9)
17.7
(63.9)
19.7
(67.5)
21.5
(70.7)
23.9
(75)
27.7
(81.9)
30.5
(86.9)
31.6
(88.9)
29.0
(84.2)
25.2
(77.4)
20.6
(69.1)
17.7
(63.9)
23.48
(74.26)
Daily mean °C (°F)10.9
(51.6)
12.1
(53.8)
13.9
(57)
15.8
(60.4)
18.6
(65.5)
22.3
(72.1)
25.0
(77)
25.9
(78.6)
23.4
(74.1)
19.6
(67.3)
15.1
(59.2)
12.2
(54)
17.90
(64.22)
Average low °C (°F)5.1
(41.2)
6.5
(43.7)
8.1
(46.6)
10.0
(50)
13.2
(55.8)
16.9
(62.4)
19.4
(66.9)
20.1
(68.2)
17.7
(63.9)
14.0
(57.2)
9.5
(49.1)
6.7
(44.1)
12.27
(54.09)
Record low °C (°F)−3.0
(26.6)
−3.0
(26.6)
−1.3
(29.7)
0.0
(32)
3.0
(37.4)
5.0
(41)
11.0
(51.8)
9.0
(48.2)
7.7
(45.9)
3.0
(37.4)
0.0
(32)
−6.1
(21)
−6.1
(21)
Precipitation mm (inches)43.6
(1.717)
44.4
(1.748)
35.0
(1.378)
29.6
(1.165)
27.2
(1.071)
3.80
(0.1496)
1.80
(0.0709)
2.70
(0.1063)
13.2
(0.52)
24.8
(0.976)
55.5
(2.185)
45.2
(1.78)
326.8
(12.866)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)8.78.57.17.26.92.01.31.83.66.68.48.870.9
 % humidity79.576.574.070.068.066.264.766.570.273.976.378.672.03
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization (UN)[7]
Source #2: climatebase.ru (extremes, humidity)[8]

Culture[edit]

The folk music Raï ("opinion" in Arabic), had its beginnings in Oran. This genre of music was formulated by shepherds in the 1930s through Arab and European influences. This music was surrounded by controversy due to women's key role in public performances of the music, as well as the hedonistic lyrics about love and alcohol. This led to strict governmental control in the area which led to arrests, injuries, and assassinations.[9] Many notable Raï musicians (including Cheb Hasni, Cheb Khaled, and Rachid Taha) hail from Oran. The violinist Akim el Sikameya was also born in Oran.

Fiction[edit]

Place 1er novembre (ex.Place d'Armes)
Chapelle Santa Cruz

El Gallardo Español 1615 by Miguel de Cervantes and Albert Camus's 1947 novel The Plague take place in Oran.

Part of Arturo Pérez-Reverte's 2006 Capitán Alatriste adventure novel Corsarios de Levante (Pirates of the Levant) takes place in early 17th-century Oran. The action of the book occurs just a few years after the forced expulsion of last Moriscos (Spanish Christians of Muslim descent) from Valencia. There are vivid descriptions of Oran as a sun-blasted North African military stronghold, largely forgotten by the King of Spain and his advisors, whose attention is focused on the wars in the Low Countries and the treasure fleets from the Americas. Fictional hero Capitán Diego Alatriste and his ward Íñigo Balboa find Oran to be manned by an impoverished garrison of Christian Spaniards, living alongside Muslims (some fiercely loyal to Spain), and Sephardic Jews, themselves refugees from the 1492 expulsions ordered by the Catholic Monarchs (Ferdinand and Isabel).

In the movie Casablanca, the route for refugees fleeing to the Americas was Paris to Marseille, across the Mediterranean to Oran, then by train, auto or foot to Casablanca. If they were lucky enough to get an exit visa, they went on to Lisbon from there.

In the ITV drama series Hornblower, Lieutenant Hornblower is sent by Captain Pellew to Oran in order to obtain supplies, only to discover that Oran is suffering from Bubonic Plague and have to spend three weeks on board an abandoned supply ship en route to Gibraltar loaded with the supplies obtained from Oran, as a sort of quarantine.

Paul Bowles's 1949 novel The Sheltering Sky mainly takes place in Oran.

The heroine of Geraldine Brooks' novel Year of Wonders ends up in Oran after a year in a village under a self-imposed quarantine fighting the plague in 1666.

Joann Sfar's graphic novel "The Rabbi's Cat 2" begins in Oran.

City districts[edit]

Districts of Oran[edit]

Neighborhoods and districts of Oran.
Arabic name and names of the districts of Oran
DistrictArabic nameName
1   الحمريEl Hamri
2   حي الإمام الهواريHai Imam El-Houari
3   السعادةEs-Saada
4   المقريAl-Maqarri
5   الحمريEl-Hamri
6   البدرEl-Badr
7   الصديقيةEs-Seddikia
8   المنزهEl-Menzeh
9   الأميرEl-Emir
10   العثمانيةEl-Othmania
11   بوعمامةBouamama
12   محي الدينMuhieddine

Medina Jedida[edit]

Medina Jedida which means in English new city is a large historical and popular district. It was one of the Muslim quarters in the French colonial period. In this district, there is one of the biggest markets in the country, called Le Marché de Medina Jedida (Medina Jedida Market).

El Hamri[edit]

Mosque of Hassan Basha

El Hamri is a too large popular district in the center of Oran known under French rule as Lamur. One finds there the football club Mouloudia d'Oran.

Neighborhood streets

Sidi El Houari[edit]

The historical district is a suburb in the north of the d'Oran city. One finds l ancian Saint-Louis college there, as well as the old mosque of the Pasha dating from the 17th century. In this district the skin of Saint-Patron of the city in the name of "Sidi El Houari" rests;. Other tourist curiosities: one ancient prefecture of the data base Stalingrad, the Spanish vestiges dating from the 16th century, and especially the Palate of the Bey d'Oran.

Oranian agglomeration[edit]

Fort Mers el-Kebir
Oran Madagh
The Great Library (ex. Cathédrale d'Oran)

The Oranian metropolis comprises several communes.

DZ 31 Oran.svg

Mers-El-Kébir[edit]

The Municipality of Mers-El-Kebir is located north-west of Oran, about seven km (4.3 miles) from the city centre. As its name indicates (The Great Port), it is a major port and has an important naval base, home to the Algerian Navy.

Aïn-El-Turk[edit]

Aïn El Turk, whose name means Fountain of the Turks is also located at the North-West of Oran to 15 km (9 mi) of the center. It is a seaside town which includes several hotels and other tourist attractions.

Es-Sénia[edit]

Es-Sénia, located in the south of Oran, is home to industrial parks, several university institutes (Oran-Es-Sénia University, Institut of Communication, ENSET "Higher Teacher training school," CRASC "Research center in social sciences," etc.) and the international airport.

Bir-El-Djir[edit]

This commune represents the suburbs of Oran (apart from the districts). It is the future beating heart of the Oranian agglomeration. It has several buildings which are the seats of institutions as the headquarters of Sonatrach's downstream activity, the hospital Etablissement Hospitalo-universitaire "November 1st, 1954", the convention center (Palais des Congrès), University of sciences and technology (conceived by the Japanese architect Kenzō Tange), the Institute of medical sciences, the Court of Justice and the National Centre of Research in Social and Cultural Anthropology. There is as well a stadium with a capacity of 50000 places under construction.

Bir El Djir is the urban extension to the East of Oran, 8 km (5 mi) far from the city center, with a population of 118.000 inhabitants.

Misserghin[edit]

This is a small city in the Western extreme of the metropolis.

Mediterranean side - Oran
Panorama of sea front at Oran, Algeria

Tourism[edit]

Oran has numerous hotels in all categories, from luxury to basic, as well as many restaurants offering Algerian specialities and other foods. Tourists will also find a variety of cinemas, arts centres, the regional theatre, an open-air theatre, the Museum, the historic city centre of Oran, the district of Sidi El Houari, the municipal gardens, Médina Djedida with its artisanal products, the cathedral, Djebel Murdjadjo, and nearby seaside resorts. International airport Es-Senia is 7.4 mi (11.9 km) from the town centre. One can also reach Oran by ferries from the ports of Marseilles, Sète, Alicante and Almería, via the national company Algérie Ferries.

Transportation[edit]

Railway station in Oran

The city has limited means of transport, which do not cover sufficiently the non-urban zones. The entreprise ETO (Company of Oranian Transport) acquired new buses burning coal. There is an extensive network of "clandestine" taxis in the City. Work will start in 2008/9 and will last approximately two to three years, to deliver the first line of the tram in 2010. It should comprise 31 stations, distributed on 17.7 km (11 mi) going to Es-Sénia, in the South, jusqu'à Sidi Maarouf, with l'Est, while passing by the centre town The tram should serve the locality d'Haï Sabbah, l University of Sciences and Technology (USTO), the Crossroads of the Three Private clinics, the Law courts, Dar El Baïda, the Plate-Saint Michel, the Place of the 1st November, Saint-Anthony, Boulanger, Saint-Hubert, the 3rd Ring road and finally l University Es-Sénia. The Oran Es Senia Airport, for domestic and international flights. Oran Es Senia Airport serves both, domestic and international flights, with frequent connections to the capital Algiers, served by the public airline company Air Algerie. The same company also has flights to many French cities (Marseille, Paris, Lyon, etc.) and other European and EMEA cities. The Es Senia Airport also serves passengers from most smaller towns in proximity to Oran (Sig, Mostaganem, Arzew, etc.). The airport building is a fairly limited construction and does not operate on a 24-h basis.

International Marathon[edit]

Oran held its first international marathon on November 10, 2005. The event, sponsored by Toyota of Algeria, attracted runners from Morocco, Libya, Spain, France, and Kenya. The marathon served to publicize the health benefits of running and to provide a novel form of public entertainment for the city's residents.

International relations[edit]

Oran is twinned with:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The provinces of Algeria and all cities of over 25,000 inhabitants". Citypopulation.de. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  2. ^ Abdellah Messahel, Une périurbanisation officielle dans un site contraignant..., in Space, populations, societies 2008/1 [1]
  3. ^ About Oran—from the city's website.
  4. ^ Jewish community of Oran
  5. ^ Urzainqui, Tomas; Esarte, Pello; García Manzanal, Alberto; Sagredo, Iñaki; Sagredo, Iñaki; Sagredo, Iñaki; Del Castillo, Eneko; Monjo, Emilio; Ruiz de Pablos, Francisco; Guerra Viscarret, Pello; Ercilla, Manuel (2013). La Conquista de Navarra y la Reforma Europea. Pamplona-Iruña: Pamiela. ISBN 978-84-7681-803-9. 
  6. ^ Jonathan Israel, The Jews of Spanish Oran and Their Expulsion in 1669 Mediterranean Historical Review 9, no. 2 (1994): 235-255
  7. ^ "Weather Information for Oran". 
  8. ^ "Oran, Algeria". Climatebase.ru. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Joan, Gross (2002). Jonathan Xavier and Renato Rosaldo, ed. "Arab Noise and Ramadan Nights: Rai, Rap and Franco-Maghrebi Identities" The Anthology of Globalization: A Reader. Oxford: Blackwell 
  10. ^ "Bordeaux - Rayonnement européen et mondial". Mairie de Bordeaux (in French). Archived from the original on 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  11. ^ "Bordeaux-Atlas français de la coopération décentralisée et des autres actions extérieures". Délégation pour l’Action Extérieure des Collectivités Territoriales (Ministère des Affaires étrangères) (in French). Archived from the original on 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  12. ^ "Sister Cities Home Page".  eThekwini Online: The Official Site of the City of Durban

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]