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Oran
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Oran

Oran, Algeria.
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Theatre of Oran, Algeria. Photo: Daggett2008.

Oran, Algeria.
Santa Cruz, Oran, Algeria.

Oran, Algeria.
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Photo: Pabel Rock.

City in western Algeria with 860,000 inhabitants (2003 estimate), situated on the Gulf of Oran, which is part of the Mediterranean Sea.
It is the capital of Oran province with 1.4 million inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 2,121 km².
Oran has a busy port shipping natural petroleum and natural gas, and many industrial products, as well as importing an even wider range of products. Together with the fishing port of Mers el-Kebir does it form the second largest port in Algeria, second only to Algiers. Oran has a much small-scale industries, located to the southeastern districts. Oran produces plastic items, chemicals and processed food. From the local agriculture, the dominating products are wine, cereals, vegetables and fruit.
Oran has excellent connections with other urban centres of Algeria by rail and road. There is an international airport 20 km to the south, as well as ferry connections with Marseilles and Sète in France and Alicante in Spain.
Oran has two parts, the old one with buildings from the Arab, Berber, Ottoman and Spanish periods, and the new one which was built by the French since 1831. In the old town, the Spanish and Ottoman quarters can easily be distinguished. The Cathedral of Saint-Louis lies in the Spanish, while the Ottoman is dominated by the late 18th century Great Mosque. The Kasbah lies next to the Spanish town. The French town is the centre for companies and governmental offices. Most apartments are located here as well.
Oran has two universities, The University of Oran established in 1965 and the University of Science and Technology of Oran, established in 1975. There are also higher learning institutions for music, dramatic arts, meteorology and telecommunications.

History
10th century: Founded by the Muslim rulers of Andalucia, in order to facilitate trade between Spain and this part of North Africa. Oran is the location for Algeria's shortest distance to Spain.
1437: Becomes part of the Kingdom of Tlemcen.
1492: Muslim refugees from Spain establish themselves in Oran.
1502: A new influx of Muslim refugees.
1509: Briefly occupied by the Spanish.
16th century: Together with Mers el-Kebir does Oran become a stronghold for pirates.
1708: Comes under control of the Ottoman Empire.
1732: Conquered by the Spanish.
1790: Heavy earthquake destroys large parts of Oran.
1792: The Ottomans retake Oran. A Jewish community is resettled here.
1831: Occupied by the French, who starts building a modern port here. This would generate new growth for the city, and large parts of the population would be French. Mers el-Kebir is turned into a large naval base.
1942 November 10: Captured by US troops.
1962: With the arrival of Algerian independence large parts of the French population leaves Oran.




By Tore Kjeilen