Villa Sanjurjo / ⴻⵍ-ⵃⵓⵙⵉⵎⴰ
|Province||Al Hoceïma Province|
|• ruler||Mohammed VI|
|• mayor||Mohammed Boudra|
Al Hoceima (Amazigh languages: Villa or Lhusima,) is a city in the north of Morocco on the northern edge of the Rif Mountains, and on the Mediterranean coast. Al Hoceima and its surrounding regions have a population of 395,644 (2004 census). Al Hoceima is the capital of the Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate region. It is situated in the territory of the Ayt Weryaghel and Ibeqquyen tribes of the Rif, who speak Tarifit Berber, locally called Tamazight.
History of Al Hoceima
The Spanish started to develop Al Hoceima around 1925. General Sanjurjo landed with his troops on the beach of Al Hoceima during the Rif Rebellion and claimed the territory for Spain. He named the territory Villa Sanjurjo, after himself. Many locals still refer to the city as "Villa".
The Spanish troops built houses, schools and hospitals above the beach, creating the beginnings of the town. In the 1920s and 1930s, the town had almost no growth in population. Its name changed from Villa Sanjurjo to Villa Alhucemas, and the few streets above the beach were still occupied by mainly Spanish soldiers and their families. The first mayor was Florian Gómez Aroca.
After Morocco gained its independence in 1956, Al Hoceima developed quickly, and the Moroccan government changed its name from the Spanish Villa Alhucemas to Al Hoceima.
Modern Al Hoceima and its Spanish influences
Al Hoceima is now a moderate-size city with an estimated population of 100,000. It has the second-largest port of the Rif Region (Nador being the largest). The first schools built by the Spanish colonials, (a college and an elementary school) and a Spanish catholic church, still exist today.
Playa Quemado, where General Sanjurjo and his troops landed in 1925, is Al Hoceima's most popular beach. It is located just below the luxurious Mohammed V hotel, which includes a tennis court, restaurant, cocktail bar and nightclub.
The city's income is based on tourism and fishing. Many of its former inhabitants migrated to Europe during the 1960s through 1980s; large numbers of Moroccans in the Netherlands, France and Belgium were Al Hoceima natives. Many return to Al Hoceima during the summer, stimulating its economy and encouraging investment.
Since the 1990s, many western-oriented businesses have opened in Al Hoceima, including pizza parlors, fast food restaurants and clothing stores.
The city is served by the Cherif Al Idrissi Airport.
The town and surrounding villages were hit by two moderate earthquakes within ten years. The first, at a severity of Mw 6.0, occurred on May 26, 1994. The second, at Mw 6.4, occurred on February 24, 2004, killing more than 560 people (see 2004 Morocco earthquake).
A 1948 Spanish motion picture, Alhucemas, tells the story of an army official during the time of Franco who transforms from a coward to a hero.
In the early 1950s and 1960s, when many of the city's inhabitants were poor, the small houses were all painted white and blue. These colors, representing the sea and sky, were considered the city's official colors. Later, when there was financial growth, people began painting their houses in other colors. In 2007, Al Hoceima's mayor stated that all new houses would be painted white and blue in an effort to restore the city's traditional appearance.
Twin towns - sister cities
- Nice, France
- Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Almería, Spain
- Almuñécar, Spain
- The Hague, Netherlands
- Schaerbeek, Belgium
- Al Hoceima Photos (English)
- City Of Alhoceima Website (English)
- Galerie Al Hoceima (FR)
- (French) Alhoceima, la perle de la Méditerranée'
- (Spanish) Www.Alhucemas.info Portail Touristique Et Commerciale De La Ville D'AlHucemas'
- (French) Www. Alhoceima.info Portal de información de la ciudad de Alhoceima'
- Entry in Lexicorient (not appropriate as an external link)
- Pictures about Al-Hoceima (Thmazight)
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