Nestling on a hillside overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Oran is a lively, welcoming and hospitable city where traditions have travelled down through centuries.
Oran, the second largest city of Algeria, has succeeded in preserving its identity and traditions despite the succession of invaders who have marked out its history.
Founded in 902 by Muslims from Andalusia, it was occupied by the Almohads followed by the Zayyanids, to whom the city owes its famous Sidi El Houari mosque. The port was already very prosperous at the time, as Oran had trade relations with numerous countries in the Mediterranean. Oran then fell into Spanish hands for 3 centuries, and has preserved some historical remains of this period: Santa Cruz Fort, the Spanish garrison, the walls of the Kasbah, Mers El Kebir Fort, the Spanish Gate and other monuments dotted around the city.
A dynamic port city, Oran drops down to the sea to form an amphitheatre, straddling hills and magnificent landscapes, and looks out onto one of the loveliest bays in the world. So if you take the time to stroll around the sloping streets of the old town, you will discover its soul. Wander through the Kasbah, enjoy the relaxed pace of life in this region of Algeria, the welcome and spontaneity reserved for travellers by the people of Oran. You can also go further on to the port of Mers El Kebir, with its welcoming beaches.
In Oran life goes on in the streets, in the almost constant activity of its main streets and at cultural gatherings. It is a city where culture has developed considerably, and is recognized today as the world capital of Raï music, blending tradition and modernity.
Sites and monuments
- The historic quarter, with a mixture of Spanish, Turkish and French architecture.
- The two historical mosques in the district of Sidi Al Houari: The Pasha Mosque (1797) and the Bey Othmane Mosque (1801).
- Santa Cruz Cathedral and Chapel.
- The Great Synagogue on Kargentha plateau.
- The military forts of Oran including Mers Al Kebir fort: indeed, the city has the largest concentration of military forts in the whole of Africa
- The Spanish Gate in the old Kasbah, an important relic of Spanish architecture in Algeria.
- The Bullring, the only one in the whole of Africa in fact.
- Ahmed Zabana and Moujahid Museums.
- August: Raï Festival.
- September: International Arabian Film Festival
- La Chorba : Soupe à base de viande de mouton et de légumes
- La Harira : Soupe similaire à La Chorba avec du riz et pois-chiches
- Les bricks : Feuilles pliées en carré avec un œuf et de la purée de pomme de terre
- Les boureks : rouleaux de feuilles de bricks à la viande et aux épinards
- Salade de poivrons grillés
- Salade de carottes à la sauce piquante
- Le couscous
- La chakchouka : ratatouille de légumes
- Le méchoui : agneau roti à la broche
- Makrout : pâtisseries au miel, dattes et semoules.
- Kalb el Louz : gâteau à la semoule, accompagné de divers épices.
- Dziriettes : gâteau à la farine, farce d’amande, miel, zeste de citron et fleur d’oranger.