Radiant in the north-west of Algeria with its architectural and cultural splendor, the “Radieuse” Oran, or “Wahren”, the second capital of the country will host this year the 19th edition of the Mediterranean games scheduled from June 25 to July 5, 2022.
Whether you are an athlete, trainer or just visiting Oran for this occasion, it is essential for you to visit the landmarks of this city, home to a mix of religions, cultures and architectures that decorate the Mediterranean.
Take advantage of this article to plan your stay and discover the 5 must-see attractions in Oran.
1- Fort and chapel of Santa Cruz: A view, a story
Want to dominate the whole city of Oran and the Mediterranean? It is the fort of Santa Cruz that will offer you this pleasure.
Fort de Santa Cruz: Centerpiece of Oran Bay
You are visiting Oran, it is impossible for you to miss this stone mastodon, perched on the Aïdour massif (Le Murdjadjo).
Built between 1577 and 1604 on a height of 400 meters above the Mediterranean Sea, the fortress represented a strategic military point for the Spanish and French soldiers thereafter.
The fort has undergone several reconstructions following military and natural destruction, and was listed in 1950 as one of the natural sites that bear witness to the Algerian-Franco-Spanish history.
The Chapel of Santa Cruz, Protectress of the City
Below the building is the De Santa Cruz chapel, exhibiting a large statue of the Virgin Mary, protector of the city of Oran.
The latter was erected following the Cholera epidemic which struck the city in 1849, and by this fact, immediately after the prayers of the faithful, a curtain of rain fell on the city, cleaning it from the epidemic.
The chapel was classified as a national monument on December 17, 2003, you can start your visit of the city of Oran, with the unmissable Fort and Chapel of Santa Cruz, you will certainly spot all your next visits from afar.
To get there, very easy to find taxis if you don’t have a vehicle to go up the hill, you will certainly not be disappointed with the panoramic view of the city; As for prices, entry to the chapel is free, and at a symbolic price for the fort.
2- Boulevard de l’ALN: The balcony overlooking the Mediterranean
Connecting the east side to the west of the city center, Boulevard de l’ALN is one of the city’s most important landmarks.
The seafront is the famous artery (boulevard de l’ALN) of the city of Oran running along the historic city center from east to west, from the Zabana roundabout to the wall of the fortress of the Palais du Bey.
True balcony on the sea and in particular the port, of which one never tires of observing the movement, the seafront boulevard is a very pleasant place of family stroll until late during the summer nights. To the east of the port, the large and aggressive chimney is that of the power station built in the early 1950s.
The seafront promenade stretches for 2 kilometers, and is easily accessible from the center of the city of Oran on foot.
Otherwise, take a trip to the end of the boulevard, on the Zabana roundabout side, you will find a splendid family garden, “Esplanade de Sidi M’hamed”, lively day and night, perched on the sea, a place of relaxation for families, groups of friends and children and a night meeting point for its conviviality and safety.
you will surely meet there dancers and sportsmen who dazzle you with their talents, or even free screenings of Algerian films.
3- Oran city center: meeting of religions and modernism
Oran is called “La Radieuse” on Bey Hassan, the last governor of Oran before the French colonial capture, nicknamed “El Bahi”, or the radiant.
However, this city center of the history of Algeria and capital of the west, erased from its crossroads of cultures and history.
Place d’Armes: Historic heart of the city
Currently called Place de 1er novembre 1954, La Place d’Armes is considered the historic heart of the city of Oran, it is at the crossroads of several roads that you come from the port, the seafront and the city center. city.
In its center, there is an obelisk bearing the effigy of Emir Abdelkader, surmounted by a sculpture called “La Gloire” by the French sculptor Aimé-Jules Dalou.
Surrounding the square with their colonial architecture, the majestic historical buildings that are the town hall with giant sculptures of two lions, on which the city was named; and the opera house have watched over the square for over a century.
To get there, a Tramway station is present at this level, or otherwise a few minutes walk from the Seafront.
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart: Regional Library of Oran
It is very likely that you have already met the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, on a postcard, book or magazine, because it is impossible to speak of Oran without having to mention it.
This cathedral was the second cathedral in the city during the French period, the first being the Saint-Louis church rebuilt in 1831 by the French on the remains of an old Spanish church built in 1509 but which had been largely destroyed by the earthquake of 1790. Its construction began on April 20, 1903 and ended on February 9, 1913. It was consecrated on April 9, 1930.
In a Roman-Byzantine style, it was designed by the architect Albert Ballu and the work was carried out by the construction company of the brothers Auguste and Gustave Perret.
The Crypt of the cathedral was completed in 1906 (currently a media library) and the large Cavaillé-Coll-Mutin organ was inaugurated on February 3, 1918.
Regional Theater of Oran: The Algerian artistic pole
Built at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Opera of Oran, just next to the Place d’Armes, will catch your eye thanks to the giant statue of an art goddess with a zither, and in depth , two muses accompany him.
In 1967, the opera of Oran was transformed into the National Theater of Western Algeria, in 1971 it was called the Algerian National Theater of the West, its leaders had to wait until 1972 for the theater to enjoy its independence. financial and artistic, and since the Regional Theater of Oran has continued to be a driving wheel of artistic creation in Algeria.
The Regional Theater of Oran open its doors every day of the week and to all sections of society, large and small, Fridays and Tuesdays are reserved for young audiences, the rest of the week the program is geared towards children. adults, play, concert and literary and poetic afternoon.
Disco Maghreb: Emblems of Algerian Rai
If you are in one of the buildings we have just mentioned, on your way to the cathedral, pay attention to the small room which forms the corner between Rue “Bensennousi” commonly called République and Boulevard Amir Abdelkader.
You will find the legendary Disco Maghreb, seller of old K7s, older records, publisher and prestigious label in Oran who produced the first generation of Algerian Rai singers, known worldwide today as Khaled, Mami , Hasni, Zahouania, Cheikha Rimitti, and many others.
Certainly, the premises are currently abandoned, however, the pleasure of going through boulevard Amir Abdelkader “L’emir” with its eclectic colonial architectural style, makes you still travel to the neighborhoods of Havana, just before plunging into artistic roots from western Algeria.
Note that the entire city center of Oran is very easily accessible, whether on foot, or thanks to the tram stops which serve all the landmarks in the area.