Discover the hidden treasures of Oran, Algeria: exploring its lesser-known wonders

Oran is a city located in western Algeria, among the Wilayas of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria. It is bordered to the west by the state of Ain Temouchent, to the east by the state of Mostaganem, to the southwest by the state of Sidi Bel Abbes, and to the southeast by the state of Mascara. The city of Oran is situated approximately 60 meters above sea level, at a latitude of 35.691 degrees north and a longitude of 0.642 degrees west. It is positioned on the Gulf of Oran, which is located to the west of the Mediterranean Sea. Oran is the second largest and one of the most important cities in Algeria, covering an area of approximately 2,114 square kilometers. Within the wilaya of Oran, notable municipalities include Bir El Djir, El Sania, Ain el-Turk, and Al-Mursi Al-Kabeer.

Oran, Algeria

An Overview of the Province of Oran, Algeria:

Oran is a province located in western Algeria. It has a traditional climate characterized by mild winters and dry summers.

The province is home to a diverse population. According to a study conducted in 2007, approximately 78% of the population is of Berber and Middle Eastern origin. In 2010, the population was estimated to be around 852,000 people.

Oran has a rich history that dates back to its foundation in 902 AD. It was established by two Andalusian sailors, Muhammad bin Abdoun and Muhammad bin Abu Aoun, with the support of the princes of Cordoba. Over the centuries, Oran came under the rule of various dynasties, including the Almoravids, Bani Abd al-Wad, Hafsids, Marinids, and Zayanites. The city served as an important commercial port for the Zayan state on the Mediterranean Sea.

In 1509 AD, the Spaniards took control of Oran. However, their rule came to an end with a treaty between Bey Muhammad bin Othman, also known as Muhammad the Great, and King Charles IV on September 12, 1792 AD. Oran then became a state under Ottoman rule.

Subsequently, Oran came under French rule after Bey Hassan abdicated on January 4, 1831 AD. The Algerian liberation revolution began on November 1, 1954 AD, marking the start of the struggle and jihad against the French occupation. On July 5, 1962, Algeria celebrated its independence, including Oran. However, during this time, the city experienced a tragic event known as the massacre of ’62. Despite the challenges, Oran emerged as an independent Algerian city, with Ahmed Ben Bella becoming the first president of the republic.

 Oran Province today

Oran is not only a province but also a major port and commercial center in Algeria. It is home to two prominent universities: the University of Science and Technology and the University of Sania.

Sports play a significant role in Oran, particularly football. The province boasts several football teams, with the MC Oran team being the most notable. Other important teams include the Oran Association team, the Oran Union team, and the Mediouni team.

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Oran is also known for its distinct neighborhoods, such as the Hamri neighborhood, Messar Ghain neighborhood, Al-Mursi neighborhood, the great neighborhood, and the neighborhood of Sidi Al-Hawari. These neighborhoods contribute to the vibrant and diverse character of the city.

  •  Transportation

The province of Oran in Algeria is well-connected to other Algerian states through a railway network, facilitating transportation and connectivity within the country.

Additionally, Oran’s port serves as an important transportation hub, connecting it to various European cities through maritime routes. This enables trade and facilitates the movement of goods between Oran and international destinations.

For air travel, Oran is served by El Sania Airport, also known as Oran International Airport. This airport provides connectivity to various destinations worldwide, allowing travelers to reach Oran from different parts of the world conveniently.

Tourism in Oran

There are many, many tourist attractions that you can enjoy visiting there, including:

1- Bey Palace

Bey Palace

The Bey Palace, also known as the Palace of the Bey or Dar el-Bey, is a historic palace located in Oran, Algeria. It was originally built during the Ottoman era and served as the residence of the ruling bey, who was the provincial governor appointed by the Ottoman Empire.

The palace showcases impressive architectural features, blending Ottoman and Moorish influences. It consists of several courtyards, ornate halls, and beautifully decorated rooms. The palace’s design reflects the opulence and grandeur associated with the ruling elite of the time.

Today, the Bey Palace serves as a museum, allowing visitors to explore its rich history and architectural beauty. The museum exhibits artifacts, artworks, and historical objects that provide insights into the cultural heritage of the region and the palace’s significance. It is a popular tourist attraction, offering a glimpse into the bygone era of Oran’s history.

2- Santa Cruz Castle

Santa Cruz Castle

Santa Cruz Castle, also known as Fort Santa Cruz, is a prominent historical landmark located in Oran, Algeria. The castle is situated on a hill overlooking the Bay of Oran, offering breathtaking views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea.

The construction of Santa Cruz Castle dates back to the 16th century when it was built by the Spanish during their rule over Oran. It served as a defensive fortress to protect the city from attacks. The castle was strategically positioned to have a commanding view of the coastline and was equipped with cannons and fortifications.

Santa Cruz Castle has undergone several transformations throughout its history. It has been occupied by various rulers, including the Spanish, the Ottomans, and the French. Each occupation left its mark on the castle’s architecture and design.

Today, Santa Cruz Castle stands as a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of Oran’s history. Visitors can explore the castle’s interior, which includes exhibits showcasing the historical significance of the fortress and the city. The castle’s walls and battlements provide an opportunity to appreciate the panoramic views of Oran and its surrounding landscapes.

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The castle’s location and historical significance make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and those seeking a glimpse into Oran’s past.

3- Oran Cathedral

Oran Cathedral

Oran Cathedral, also known as the Cathédrale du Sacré-Cœur d’Oran, was a Catholic cathedral located in Oran, Algeria. The cathedral held a significant place in the city’s architectural and religious history.

Built in the late 19th century, Oran Cathedral was an impressive example of French Neo-Gothic architecture. It featured intricate stone carvings, stained glass windows, and a grand façade that showcased its religious and cultural significance.

The cathedral served as the principal place of worship for the Catholic community in Oran and played an essential role in their religious and social life. It was a prominent landmark in the city, attracting both locals and visitors.

However, following Algeria’s independence from France in 1962, the cathedral’s fate took a different turn. As the country embraced Islam as its predominant religion, many Christian institutions, including Oran Cathedral, underwent changes or faced closures.

Unfortunately, in 1993, a devastating earthquake struck Oran, severely damaging the cathedral. Efforts to restore the building were limited, and eventually, it was decided to demolish the remains of the cathedral in 1998.

Today, the site where Oran Cathedral once stood is an open space, serving as a reminder of the city’s religious and architectural heritage. The memory of the cathedral continues to hold cultural and historical significance for the people of Oran.

4- November 1st Square

1st November Square, Oran

1st November Square is a notable public square located in the city of Oran, Algeria. It holds significant historical and cultural importance for the city and its residents.

The square was named in commemoration of the Algerian War of Independence, which began on November 1, 1954. This war marked a crucial period in Algeria’s struggle for independence from French colonial rule.

1st November Square serves as a central gathering place and a hub of activity in Oran. It is a popular spot for public events, celebrations, and demonstrations. The square’s spacious layout and central location make it an ideal venue for various activities and gatherings.

The square is surrounded by important landmarks, including government buildings, commercial establishments, and cultural institutions. It often serves as a meeting point for locals and visitors alike, providing a vibrant atmosphere and reflecting the spirit of the city.

1st November Square stands as a symbol of Algeria’s fight for independence and a reminder of the historical events that shaped the nation. It holds a special place in the hearts of the Algerian people, representing their collective struggle and aspirations for freedom and self-determination.

5- The Great Temple of Oran

Great Temple of Oran

 It was built in 1918 CE, and it served as a Jewish temple until the Algerian revolution and the independence of Algeria in 1962 CE. The temple was then converted into a mosque and renamed Abdullah bin Salam Mosque. Visitors are welcome to explore the mosque and engage in prayer.

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6- Regional theatre

regional theater

This distinguished building was designed in the European style, making it one of the most prestigious cultural centers in Algeria. It boasts a grand hall equipped with 600 chairs, providing ample seating capacity for various events and gatherings.

7- Oran train station

Oran train station

The structure of this building dates back to the French colonial period and carries architectural elements that represent the symbols of the three major monotheistic religions. Within its design, you can find the presence of a mosque, the Star of David symbolizing Judaism, as well as Catholic crosses symbolizing Christianity. This unique combination of religious symbols reflects the diverse cultural and religious heritage of the region.

Useful Information

Oran Hotels:

La Princesse Hotel: A wonderful and distinguished hotel located in the municipality of Ain El-Turk. The hotel offers 27 rooms, all equipped with flat-screen TVs. Each room also includes a private bathroom with a bathtub. The hotel provides a car rental service. Guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi and private parking.

Best Western Columbus Hotel:

Located in the city center, this hotel features 23 rooms, all equipped with air conditioning and flat-screen TVs. The rooms also include bathtubs. The hotel has a restaurant serving meals at any time. Guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi, as well as car parking and an airport shuttle service.

Hotel New Beach Thalasso:

Situated 11 km from Ain El-Turk, this hotel offers 80 rooms, all equipped with flat-screen TVs and private bathrooms with bathtubs. The hotel has a restaurant where guests can enjoy meals. Free private parking is available on-site. The hotel also features an outdoor pool, children’s playground, and sun terrace. Free Wi-Fi is provided.

Eden Phoenix Hotel:

Located 20 km from Ain El Turk and 6 km from Oran Santa Cruz Fortress, this hotel offers 103 rooms, all equipped with flat-screen TVs and private bathrooms. The hotel features a gift shop. Guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi, free parking, and airport transfers. Additionally, the hotel offers an outdoor pool and a restaurant.

Restaurants: When you visit Oran, Algeria, you can enjoy delicious meals at these recommended restaurants:

Sama Oran Restaurant The Pirate Restaurant
Lebanon Cafe Restaurant Grand Cafe Restaurant Wi-Fi Resto Bab Rayan Restaurant The Mediterranean Restaurant Street Food Restaurant Fast Food Muhannad Restaurant Brooklyn Food Restaurant

Coffee Shops: For a relaxing break and to enjoy Algerian juices and hot drinks, visit these wonderful coffee shops:

Night Musk Café Al Jawhara Cafe Written Cafe Morning Cafe Millennium Coffee Shop Burj Al Arab Cafe Café Shop Cordoba Cafe Shop Lotus Trocadero Cafe Zaghloul Coffee Shop

We hope you have a delightful visit, enjoy your time, and explore the beautiful sights in the Bahia state of Oran, Algeria.

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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