Location of Béjaïa, Algeria within Béjaïa Province
|• Mayor||Hannache Tahar (2008-2012)|
|• Total||120.22 km2 (46.42 sq mi)|
|Elevation||949 m (3,114 ft)|
|Population (2008 census)|
|• Density||1,500/km2 (3,800/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
Béjaïa (Berber: Bgayet, ⴱⴳⴰⵢⴻⵜ), formerly Bougie and Bugia, is a Mediterranean port city on the Gulf of Béjaïa in Algeria; it is the capital of Béjaïa Province, Kabylia. Béjaïa is the largest city in the Kabylian region, and is one of the largest principally Berber-speaking cities of Algeria.
The town is overlooked by the mountain Yemma Gouraya, whose profile is said to resemble a sleeping woman; other nearby scenic spots include the Aiguades beach and the Pic des Singes (Monkey Peak); the latter site is a habitat for the endangered Barbary macaque, which prehistorically had a much broader distribution than at present. All three of these geographic features are contained in the Gouraya National Park. The Soummam river runs past the town.
Under French rule, it was formerly known under various European names, such as Budschaja in German, Bugia in Italian, and Bougie [buˈʒi] (the latter two being words for candle, derived from the town name because of its wax trade).
Béjaïa was first inhabited by Numidian Berbers. A minor port in Carthaginian and Roman times, Béjaïa was the Roman Saldae, a veteran colony founded by emperor Augustus of great importance in the province of Mauretania Caesariensis, later in the fraction Sitifensis.
In the second or third century AD, Gaius Cornelius Peregrinus, a decurion (town councillor) from Saldae was a tribunus (military commander) of the auxiliary garrison at Alauna Carvetiorum in northern Britain. An altar dedicated to him was discovered shortly before 1587 in the north-west corner of the fort, where it had probably been re-used in a late-Roman building (source).
It became the capital of the short-lived African kingdom of the Germanic Vandals (founded in 429-430), which was wiped out circa 533 by the Byzantines who established the African prefecture and later the Exarchate of Carthage. It had disappeared during the Arab conquest of Roman North Africa but was refounded by the Berber Hammadid dynasty (whose capital it became) in the 11th century, and became an important port and cultural center. As a principal town of the Hammadid leader, Emir En Nasser, Béjaïa flourished and was renamed En Nassria. En Nasser's son, el Mansour, built an impressive palace inside the fortifications constructed by his father. The Hammadid Empire fell in 1152, when the Almohad ruler, Abd al-Mu'min, invaded central Maghreb from Morocco.
The son of a Pisan merchant (and probably consul), posthumously known as Fibonacci, there learned under the Almohad dynasty about Indian mathematics which he called Modus Indorum , Hindu-Arabic numerals, and introduced them and modern mathematics into feudal Europe. A mathematical-historical analysis of Fibonacci's context and proximity to Béjaïa, an important exporter of wax in his time, has suggested that it was actually the bee-growers of Béjaïa and the knowledge of the bee ancestries that truly inspired the Fibonacci numbers rather than the rabbit reproduction model as presented in his famous book Liber Abaci.
After a Spanish occupation (1510–55), the city was taken by the Ottoman Turks in the Capture of Bougie in 1555. Until it was captured by the French in 1833, Béjaïa was a stronghold of the Barbary pirates (see Barbary States). The city consisted of Kabyle Berbers, Arabic speaking Moors, Moriscos and Jews, increased by Jewish refugees from Spain.
It was Christianized in the 5th century, became officially Arian under the Vandals, and then Muslim under the Berbers. Under the name Bugia, it remained a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church until 1842. Among the titular bishops of Bugia was George Hilary Brown (titular bishop from 5 June 1840 to 22 April 1842; later, bishop of Liverpool)
City landmarks include a 16th-century mosque and a casbah (fortress) built by the Spanish in 1545.
A picture of the Orientalist painter Maurice Boitel, who painted in the city for a while, can be found in the museum of Béjaïa.
Battle of Béjaïa
That same day, at 4:40 PM, a German Luftwaffe air raid struck Béjaïa with thirty Ju-88 bombers and torpedo planes. The transports Awatea and Cathay were sunk and the monitor HMS Roberts was damaged. The following day, the anti-aircraft ship SS Tynwald hit a mine and sunk, while the transport Karanja was bombed and destroyed. 
|Climate data for Béjaïa|
|Record high °C (°F)||27.7
|Average high °C (°F)||16.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||12.1
|Average low °C (°F)||7.7
|Record low °C (°F)||−1.0
|Precipitation mm (inches)||99.7
|Source #1: NOAA (1968-1990)|
|Source #2: climatebase.ru (extremes, humidity)|
The northern terminus of the Hassi Messaoud oil pipeline from the Sahara, Béjaïa is the principal oil port of the Western Mediterranean. Exports, aside from crude petroleum, include iron, phosphates, wines, dried figs, and plums. The city also has textile and cork industries.
University of Béjaïa is located in the city.
Béjaïa has an official friendly relationship (protocole d'amitié) with:
- Brest, France, since 1995
- "Bougie (n)". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
Etymology: < French bougie wax candle, < Bougie (Arabic Bijiyah), a town in Algeria which carried on a trade in waxAvailable online to subscribers
- Béjaïa & the Corniche Kabyle, Morocco, Algeria & Tunisia: a travel survival kit, Geoff Crowther & Hugh Finlay, Lonely Planet, 2nd Edition, April 1992, p. 292.
- Stephen Ramsay, Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism, (University of Illinois Press, 2011), 64.
- Scott, T.C.; Marketos, P. (March 2014), On the Origin of the Fibonacci Sequence (PDF), MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews
- Catholic Hierarchy
- Atkinson 2002.
- "Climate Normals for Béjaïa". Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- "Béjaïa, Algeria". Climatebase.ru. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- [dead link]
- "Cevital & vous." Cevital. Retrieved on 26 August 2011. "Adresse : Nouveau Qaui Port de -Béjaïa - Algérie"
- Elkhadra bejaia[dead link]
Atkinson, An Army At Dawn
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Béjaïa .|
Media related to Béjaïa at Wikimedia Commons
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Béjaïa, Algeria.|