No visit to Algeria would be complete without a stay in the city of Oran. It is Algeria’s second largest city with a population of 675,000. Read our guide for more facts and information…
Oran is a city rich in history. Oran was founded by Moorish traders in 903 CE. It was later captured by the Spanish who lost it to the Ottoman Turks. The Spanish soon recaptured the city, but its value as a trading center had diminished, so they sold it back to the Turks. Oran finally came under French domination and stayed so until independence in 1962.
With so many cultures blending in Oran, as you can imagine the city is filled with reminders of all of the ethnic groups. This makes for a sight seeing paradise. Add to this the city is on the northwestern Algerian Mediterranean coast and you have makings of a great vacation.
Oran is one of the most important ports in Algeria. It is also a major business center. This is an area where tradition meets with the modern ideas. You will find a casbah in the old quarter, an 18th century mosque and for contrasts buildings for offices of Sontrach, the nation’s leading oil company.
Oran is filled with attractions that you will not want to miss. One of the foremost museums in northern Africa is located here. The Demaeght Museum is filled with prehistoric artifacts. It has one of the foremost exhibits of the Maghreb culture. You will also enjoy a visit to Dar el –Bahia, Oran’s town hall located in the Place du 1er Novembre also known as Place d’Armes.
You will also find of interest the Cathedrale de Sacre Coure, the beautifully architectured cathedral which was opened in 1913 by the French and was turned into a library when Algeria won its independence from France in 1962. Nearby is the Great Mosque which was built in 1796 by Bey Mohamed El-Kebir to celebrate liberation from Spanish rule. It is now open for view to the general public.
You will also want to visit the Qasr-el- Bey, a castle built by the Bey Mohamed El-Kebir in the late 17th century. Qasr is the Arabic term for castle. Also visit the Place du ler November,
Oran’s major square and tourist attraction is where the historical LeThéâtre and town hall are located. A fountain and monument make up the center of the area.
There are many other tourist attractions such as the Great Synagogue which has been turned into a mosque. While visiting all these attractions and perhaps growing weary, do not forget the beaches of Oran. There are perhaps no better beaches not only in the Mediterranean, but in the world as well.
As you can see, a visit to Oran can make for the perfect vacation. Viewed by day or night, you will be awed by the sights.