Laayoune

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"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.
"Ayun" redirects here. For other uses, see Ayun (disambiguation).
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, lit. "The Springs") is the largest city in 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. El-Aaiún (Laâyoune) is the capital of the Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra region under Moroccan administration.

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.

Demographics[edit]

The old Spanish Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi, chiefly serves European UN personnel

The city has a population of 196,331[2] and is the largest city in Western Sahara. It is a growing economic hub.

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.

Economy and status[edit]

Avenue Makkah al-Mukarramah

The city is a hub for fishing and for phosphate mining in the region.[3] In 2010 that country was negotiating a new fishing agreement with Europe over offshore fishing.

Climate[edit]

Laâyoune (El-Aaiún)has a mild desert climate, moderated by the Gulf Stream 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 precipitation 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
(3.6795)
Average precipitation days 3 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 2 1 3 18
Source: Weatherbase[4]
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 precipitation 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 precipitation 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[5]

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.

Twin towns and sister cities[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Francisco López Barrios (2005-01-23). "El Lawrence de Arabia Español" (in Spanish). El Mundo. Retrieved 2013-02-11. 
  2. ^ Stefan Helders (2010). "Morocco – largest cities (per geographical entity)". World Gazetteer. Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  3. ^ "Diplomacy over Western Sahara: 'Morocco v Algeria'", The Economist, 4 November 2010.
  4. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for El Aaiún". 
  5. ^ Laayoune Climate Guide – weather2travel.com
  6. ^ "Renewing the twining agreement between Central Algiers and Wilaya of El Aaiun". Sahara Press Service. 2011-10-30. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  7. ^ Ayuntamiento de Almería (ed.). "Ciudades Hermanadas". Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  8. ^ "Balance del viaje realizado por representantes municipales al Sahara". Aviles.es. Retrieved 2011-09-04. 
  9. ^ Ayuntamiento de Málaga (ed.). "Official website for Malaga's candidature for European capital of culture in 2016". Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  10. ^ "Hermanamiento de Montevideo y El Aaiún". Montevideo.gub.uy. 2009-12-13. Retrieved 2011-09-04. 
  11. ^ "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]