Laayoune

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"Ayun" redirects here. For other uses, see Ayun (disambiguation).
"El Aioun" redirects here. For the city in north-eastern Morocco, see El Aioun Sidi Mellouk. For the town in Mauritania, see El Aioun, Mauritania.
El Aaiún
العيون / Leɛyun
Laayoune
Plaza de la Marcha Verde
Plaza de la Marcha Verde
El Aaiún is located in Western Sahara
El Aaiún
El Aaiún
Location in Western Sahara
Coordinates: 27°9′13″N 13°12′12″W / 27.15361°N 13.20333°W / 27.15361; -13.20333Coordinates: 27°9′13″N 13°12′12″W / 27.15361°N 13.20333°W / 27.15361; -13.20333
Non-Self-Governing Territory Western Sahara
Region Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra
Province Laâyoune Province
Settled 1934
Founded 1938
Population (2010)
 • Total 196,331
Time zone UTC

Laayoune (Maghrebi Arabic: لعيون, Laʕyūn ; Spanish: El-Aaiún; Berber: Leɛyun; Literary Arabic: العيون al-ʿuyūn, literally "The Springs") is the largest city of the disputed territory of Western Sahara. The modern city is thought to have been founded by the Spanish colonizer Antonio de Oro in 1938.[1] In 1940, Spain designated it as the capital of the Spanish Sahara. Laâyoune (El-Aaiún) is the capital of the Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra region administered by Morocco under the supervision of the UN peace-keeping mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

The town is divided in two by the dry river of Saguia el Hamra. On the south side is the old lower town, constructed by Spanish colonists. A cathedral from that era is still active; its priests serve this city and Dakhla further south.

History[edit]

See also: Zemla Intifada

Etymology[edit]

El Aaiún is the Spanish transliteration of the Maghrebi Arabic name Layoun which means "the water springs". Laâyoune is a French transliteration, which is the typical form used internationally, drawing from the dominant usage by the francophone oriented Moroccan administration.

Geography[edit]

Climate[edit]

Laâyoune (El-Aiún) has a mild desert climate, moderated by the Canary Current with an average annual temperature of 20 °C (68 °F).

Climate data for Laâyoune" also "El Ayun"
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 20
(68)
20
(68)
22
(72)
22
(72)
22
(72)
24
(75)
26
(79)
28
(82)
27
(81)
25
(77)
24
(75)
20
(68)
23
(73)
Daily mean °C (°F) 16
(61)
17
(63)
19
(66)
18
(64)
20
(68)
21
(70)
23
(73)
25
(77)
24
(75)
22
(72)
20
(68)
17
(63)
20
(68)
Average low °C (°F) 12
(54)
13
(55)
16
(61)
15
(59)
16
(61)
18
(64)
20
(68)
21
(70)
20
(68)
18
(64)
16
(61)
13
(55)
17
(63)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 17.97
(0.7075)
18.51
(0.7287)
6.74
(0.2654)
2.54
(0.1)
3.21
(0.1264)
0.31
(0.0122)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
1.21
(0.0476)
7.47
(0.2941)
16.90
(0.6654)
18.60
(0.7323)
93.46
(3.6796)
Average rainy days 3 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 2 1 3 18
Source: Weatherbase[2]
Climate data for El Aaiún (Laayoune)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 22
(72)
23
(73)
24
(75)
25
(77)
26
(79)
28
(82)
31
(88)
31
(88)
30
(86)
28
(82)
25
(77)
22
(72)
26.3
(79.3)
Daily mean °C (°F) 17.5
(63.5)
18.5
(65.3)
19.5
(67.1)
20.0
(68)
21.5
(70.7)
23.5
(74.3)
26.0
(78.8)
26.5
(79.7)
25.5
(77.9)
23.5
(74.3)
21.0
(69.8)
18.0
(64.4)
21.75
(71.15)
Average low °C (°F) 13
(55)
14
(57)
15
(59)
15
(59)
17
(63)
19
(66)
21
(70)
22
(72)
21
(70)
19
(66)
17
(63)
14
(57)
17.3
(63.1)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 8
(0.31)
9
(0.35)
4
(0.16)
2
(0.08)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
4
(0.16)
4
(0.16)
6
(0.24)
10
(0.39)
47
(1.85)
Average rainy days 6 6 5 3 2 0 0 0 1 4 5 6 38
Mean monthly sunshine hours 217 232 248 270 279 270 279 279 240 248 210 217 2,989
Source: weather2travel.com[3]

Demographics[edit]

The city has a population of 196,331[4] and is the largest city in Western Sahara. It is a growing economic hub.

Economy and status[edit]

The city is a hub for fishing and for phosphate mining in the region.[5] In 2010 that country was negotiating a new fishing agreement with Europe over offshore fishing.

Sport[edit]

The football club of the city is Jeunesse Massira. The club plays in the Moroccan Premier League, the highest football league in the country. Jeunesse Massira uses Mohamed Laghdaf Stadium in training and games.

Transport[edit]

Laâyoune (El-Aaiún) is served by Hassan I Airport.

Education[edit]

There is a Spanish international school, Colegio Español La Paz, owned by the Spanish government. It occupies a 17,000-square-metre (180,000 sq ft) property. In 2015 the parents' association, Asociación de Madres, Padres y Tutores de Alumnos del Colegio Español La Paz (AMPA), asked for the establishment of secondary education so their children would not have to go to Las Palmas or Morocco to continue their education.[6]

Gallery[edit]

The old Spanish Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi, chiefly serves European UN personnel 
Avenue Makkah al-Mukarramah 
Monumental arch near the airport 

Twin towns and sister cities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Francisco López Barrios (2005-01-23). "El Lawrence de Arabia Español" (in Spanish). El Mundo. Retrieved 2013-02-11. 
  2. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for El Aaiún". 
  3. ^ Laayoune Climate Guide – weather2travel.com
  4. ^ Stefan Helders (2010). "Morocco – largest cities (per geographical entity)". World Gazetteer. Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  5. ^ "Diplomacy over Western Sahara: 'Morocco v Algeria'", The Economist, 4 November 2010.
  6. ^ Santana, Txema. "El colegio español en El Aaiún pide ciclo de secundaria" (Archive). El País. April 10, 2015. Retrieved on May 1, 2016. "Lagadaf Lahsen, presidente del AMPA del centro educativo, asegura que es “la única forma de evitar” que sus hijos “se vayan a otras ciudades de Marruecos o a Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, además de que no se pierda el español en el Sáhara”." and "[...]una instalación de 17.000 metros cuadrados que es propiedad del Estado español[...]"
  7. ^ "Renewing the twining agreement between Central Algiers and Wilaya of El Aaiun". Sahara Press Service. 2011-10-30. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  8. ^ Ayuntamiento de Almería (ed.). "Ciudades Hermanadas". Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  9. ^ "Balance del viaje realizado por representantes municipales al Sahara". Aviles.es. Retrieved 2011-09-04. 
  10. ^ Ayuntamiento de Málaga (ed.). "Official website for Malaga's candidature for European capital of culture in 2016". Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  11. ^ "Hermanamiento de Montevideo y El Aaiún". Montevideo.gub.uy. 2009-12-13. Retrieved 2011-09-04. 
  12. ^ "El Ayuntamiento de Lorca denuncia la agresión de Marruecos contra el Pueblo Saharaui" (in Spanish). Murcia.es. 2010-11-12. Retrieved 2013-02-11. 

External links[edit]