53 °F / 12 °C
Oran is a port city in northwest Algeria, located on the Mediterranean Sea. The city is located approx 432 km (268 ml) from the country's capital Algiers and has population around 760,000 (metro over 1,56 million).
- Oran is considered Algeria's 2nd most important city - after the capital Algiers, due to its industrial, commercial and cultural importance. The city name "Wahran" (in Arabic) is translated as "two lions". A legend says that lions still lived in the area in 900 AD. The last couple of lions were hunted on a mountain close to Oran.
- Oran was established in the 10th century by Moorish Andalusian traders. In 1509 it was captured by the Spanish and stayed Spanish until 1708, when was conquered by the Ottomans. In 1732 it became once again Spainish, but as its value as trade post had greatly decreased, King Charles IV of Spain (1788-1808) sold it to the Turkish. In 1831 the city fell to the French.
- During WW2 (1939-1945) Oran was held by Vichy France, but in late 1942 was captured by the Allies. Prior to the Algerian War of Independence (Algerian Revolution 1954-1962), the city had one of the largest European population compared to any other North African settlement. However, by the end of the revolution, most of the Europeans had fled to France.
- The old city quarter features a kasbah (fortress / citadel) and a 18th-century Great Mosque. In spring and summer, the city becomes a popular travel destination for its beautiful beaches and the coral reef near Madagh and Cap Blanc. Among the other attractions is the municipal museum in the Santa Cruz fortress (16th-century).