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Wehran / ⵡⴻⵀⵔⴰⵏ / وهران
Top, the two Lions of Atlas (symbol of Oran), Center, 1st November Place, fort & chapel of Santa Cruz, Bey Othmane mosque, Bottom, general view
|Nickname(s): The radiant " الباهية "|
Location of Oran in the Oran Province
|• Wali (Governor)||Saddek Benkada|
|• City||2,121 km2 (819 sq mi)|
|Elevation||0.9 m (3 ft)|
|Population (2008 for city proper, 2010 for metro area)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|Postal codes||31000 - 31037|
Oran (Berber: Wehran, ⵡⴻⵀⵔⴰⵏ; Arabic: وهران) 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), while the metropolitan area has a population of approximately 1,500,000, making it the second largest city in Algeria.
- 1 History
- 2 Etymology
- 3 Oran today
- 4 Climate
- 5 Culture
- 6 Representation in other media
- 7 City districts
- 8 Oranian agglomeration
- 9 Tourism
- 10 Transportation
- 11 International Marathon
- 12 International relations
- 13 Notes
- 14 Further reading
- 15 External links
Oran was founded in 903 by Moorish Andalusi traders. 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 during the 19th and 20th centuries, 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; this action was taken to ensure the fleet would not fall into German hands, as the Nazis had defeated France and occupied Paris. 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. In July 1962, after a cease fire and accords with France, the FLN entered Oran and were shot at by a European. A mob attacked pied-noir neighborhoods and massacred thousands of Europeans in Oran; 453 have been said to have "disappeared." This triggered a larger exodus of Europeans to France, which was already underway. Shortly after the end of the war, most of the Europeans and Algerian Sephardic Jews living in Oran fled to France. In less than three months, Oran lost about half its population.
Timeline of dynasties
|Start year||End year||Event|
|910||1082||Oran became a perpetual object of conflict between the Umayyads of al-Andalus and the Fatimids of Kairouan.|
|1082||1145||Presence of Almoravids. In 1145, Tashfin ibn Ali perished in the outskirts of Oran while trying to flee the besieging Almohad troops, who had already captured Tlemcen, and defeated the Zenata.|
|1145||1238||Presence of Almohads. 1147 marked the beginning of a period of persecution of Oran's Jews.|
|1238||1509||Presence of the Zianides of Tlemcen and then the Marinid dynasty of Fes. The oranians grew rich from 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 for 40 years. Toward the end of the 14th century, celebrated Arab historian Ibn Khaldoun wrote, "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 black African slaves.|
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 set fire to the books and archives of the town.
By 1554, the Turks had reached Algiers. The 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 paternal half-brother of King Philip II), led a flotilla of 33 galleys against the Algerians.
The Spanish rebuilt 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 had 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.
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 returned under José Carrillo de Albornoz, capturing 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. 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. They signed a treaty on September 12, 1792 by which the Spanish transferred the city to the Ottoman Empire. After another earthquake 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[disambiguation needed], 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 Algerian capital from Mascara to Oran.
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 appointed Mr. Pujol as mayor of Oran; he had been captain of cavalry in retirement and was wounded in the right hand under the Empire.
In 1832, at the head of five thousand men, the young Emir 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 .
- 1836, General Létang transforms the glacis Castle-Nine into a walk which bears its name. At the beginning of 1837 General Bugeaud arrived in Oran to negotiate a new treaty (The Treaty of Tafna, May 20) with Emir Abd El-Kader. On November 14 the Emir signed a treaty with Desmichel recognizing its [whose?] authority to the west of Algiers except for Oran, Mostaganem and Arzew.
- 1845, General Lamoricière constructed the "Village Nègre." !--what is this? explain-->
- 1847, Following a severe drought lasting several months, a terrible epidemic of cholera strikes, decimating the population of Oran.
- From 1848, Oran was the prefecture of the department of the same name. Creation of the small Basin of the Old Port (four hectares). A civil hospital is built.
- 1849, Construction of the vault of the Virgin to get rid of the cholera. The members of the first general council of Oran, named by Emperor Napoleon III, meet on December 5, 1858 with the prefecture, with Jules de Pre de Saint-Maur as chairman.
- 1866 July 25, Creation of the Oran Roman Catholic diocese.
- 1880, Beginning of the construction of the large synagogue of Oran. Oran builds a great extension starting from the place d'Armes. The ravine of l'Oued Rouina is filled.
- 1881, Appearance of the first horse-drawn trams.
- 1886, Inauguration of Hotel de Ville, the City Hall.
- 1899, First electric trams.
- 1900, the city has 90,000 inhabitants.
- 1907, Construction of the theatre.
- 1909 December 14, the first flight in Oran is carried out by Julien Serviès on a Sommer monoplane at Sénia,. Next 9 January, a great meeting gathers forty thousand people, also in Sénia, in the presence of Marshal Lyautey.
- 1913, the Cathedral Sacré Coeur was completed and opened for worship.
- 1918, Dedication of the Great Synagogue of Oran
- 1930, Creation of new districts, less dense and more luxurious: these included higher Gambetta, Bon Reception, the Beavers, Médioni, Small Boulanger, Cité... This development continues overall with the creation of districts even more sumptuous, overflowing the first crown (district of Saint-Hubert, Palm trees, Point of the Day, Gambetta...)
- 1930–32, Sénia, the Oran aérodrome, is where several world records of duration and distance in closed loop are established.
- 1940, Beginning of the construction of the new prefecture.
- 1940 July 3, following the German invasion of Paris and fall of France, the British fleet attacked from Gibraltar, damaging the French fleet of the Atlantic based at Mers el Kébir. Its bombardment sank three battleships: Dunkerque, Provence and Bretagne. Twelve hundred French sailors died as a result. The British feared that the French fleet could be taken over and used against them. The Vichy government operated in Algeria.
- 1942 November 8, as prelude to the invasion of Italy, the British and the Americans land at Arzew, and Oran capitulates on November 10.
- 1950, Oran has 256,661 inhabitants. Sixty-five percent of the Europeans were of Spanish origin, and they outnumbered the Algerian Muslims in the city.
- 1957, Construction of the municipal stage named "Fouques-Duparc", with a capacity of forty-five thousand.
- 1958 June 6, visit by French president General Charles de Gaulle.
- 1960, resistance fighters put up their first barricades.
- 1961 August, appearance of the Organisation de l'armée secrète. The census states the population of Oran 400,000 inhabitants: 220,000 Europeans (including many born in Algeria) and 180,000 Algerian Muslims.
- 1962, Edmond Jouhaud, a chief of the OAS, was arrested on March 25. In June he set fire to port with ten million tons of fuel. The Algerians declared independence and four days later massacred Europeans in Oran. Most survivors of French ancestry left the city, fleeing to France.
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 lions were killed on a mountain near Oran, and it became known as La montagne des lions ("The Mountain of Lions"). Two giant lion statues stand in front of Oran's city hall, symbolizing the city.
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.
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|
|Record high °C (°F)||26.4
|Average high °C (°F)||16.6
|Daily mean °C (°F)||10.9
|Average low °C (°F)||5.1
|Record low °C (°F)||−3.0
|Precipitation mm (inches)||43.6
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||8.7||8.5||7.1||7.2||6.9||2.0||1.3||1.8||3.6||6.6||8.4||8.8||70.9|
|Source #1: World Meteorological Organization (UN)|
|Source #2: climatebase.ru (extremes, humidity)|
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. 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.
Representation in other media
- El Gallardo Español 1615 by Miguel de Cervantes and Albert Camus' novel The Plague (1947) take place in Oran.
- In the movie Casablanca (1942), 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 acquired an exit visa, they went on to Lisbon from there.
- Paul Bowles' 1949 novel The Sheltering Sky mainly takes place in Oran.
- Part of Arturo Pérez-Reverte's Capitán Alatriste adventure novel, Corsarios de Levante (Pirates of the Levant, 2006), takes place in early 17th-century Oran. The action of the book occurs a few years after the forced expulsion of the last Moriscos (Spanish Christians of Muslim descent) from Valencia. Oran is featured as a sun-blasted North African military stronghold. Capitán Diego Alatriste finds Oran to be manned by an impoverished garrison of Spanish Christians, living alongside Muslims (some fiercely loyal to Spain), and Sephardic Jews, descendants of refugees from the 1492 expulsions from Spain.
- In the ITV drama series Hornblower, Lieutenant Hornblower is sent by Captain Pellew to Oran to obtain supplies, only to discover that the city was suffering from a bubonic plague epidemic.
- The heroine of Geraldine Brooks' novel, Year of Wonders, ends up in Oran after a year in a village quarantined in 1666 because of the plague.
- Joann Sfar's graphic novel The Rabbi's Cat 2 begins in Oran.
Districts of Oran
|2||حي الإمام الهواري||Hai Imam El-Houari|
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 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.
- Avenue of Lamur
- Street Captain-Rahou
- Sebbalet Ayada
- Place The Sahara
- Gahwat Ettoubi
- Street Staoueli
- Street Djemaa Gazouna
- Street Bougandoura
- Street Belhadri Smain
Sidi El Houari
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.
The Oranian metropolis comprises several communes.
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, 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, 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.
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.
This is a small city in the Western extreme of the metropolis.
||Aïn El Turk • Mers El Kébir • Bousfer||Mediterranean Sea||Aïn Bya • Aïn Franin|
|Boutlélis||Mers El Hadjadj • Gdyel • Bir El Djir|
|Misserghin||El Kerma • Tafraoui • Es Sénia||Oued Tlélat|
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.
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.
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.
Oran is twinned with:
- "Algeria The provinces of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria as well as all cities of over 25,000 inhabitants". CITYPOPULATION. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
- "The provinces of Algeria and all cities of over 25,000 inhabitants". Citypopulation.de. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- Abdellah Messahel, Une périurbanisation officielle dans un site contraignant..., in Space, populations, societies 2008/1 
- About Oran—from the city's website.
- Jewish community of Oran
- Benjamin Stora, Algeria, 1830-2000: A Short History (Cornell University Press, 2004) p105
- Thiolay, Boris (2006-09-13). "Algérie 1962 : La vérité sur les massacres d'Oran". L'Express. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- 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.
- Jonathan Israel, "The Jews of Spanish Oran and Their Expulsion in 1669", Mediterranean Historical Review 9, no. 2 (1994): 235-255
- "Weather Information for Oran".
- "Oran, Algeria". Climatebase.ru. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- 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.
- "Bordeaux - Rayonnement européen et mondial". Mairie de Bordeaux (in French). Archived from the original on 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
- "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.
- "Sister Cities Home Page". eThekwini Online: The Official Site of the City of Durban
- "Oran", Cook's Practical Guide to Algiers, Algeria and Tunisia, London: T. Cook & Son, 1904
- "Oran", The Mediterranean: Seaports and Sea Routes, including Madeira, the Canary Islands, the Coast of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, Leipzig: Karl Baedeker, 1911, OCLC 490068
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Oran.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Oran.|
- EasyOran—(French) The Oran electronic guide
- Visit Oran—Voted in 2007 as "Oran's best website" by the ministry of culture and Panoramic Tours. Mostly dedicated to tourism. Features photo galleries, short films, news, city guides & information, hotel info & reservation forms, forum...
- Le Souk d'Oran—Oran student’s community
- Oran's Community FORUM—The Community Discussion Forum for Oran and tourism.
- (English) Audio interview with Oran resident about life in Oran.
- Oran MAPS—Detailed maps of the Oran Region and City.
- (French) Oran-dz