Difference between revisions of "Oran"
Latest revision as of 08:39, 6 July 2018
Oran is a city of 600,000+ people in Northwest Algeria.
Oran's beautiful sea shore, constructed under French rule, was inspired by Nice's seafront. It consists of a long boulevard lined with cafés, restaurants, and ice cream shops. The boulevard also offers a splendid view of the sea, the harbour, Santa Cruz and the cliffs ("les Falaises"). It has been renamed "Boulevard de l'ALN" by the government after the independence but it is still called Front de Mer by the locals.
Oran Es Sénia Airport while not as large as Algiers' airport, it is still serviced by several international airlines including:
Oran is at the western terminus of the Algerian rail network, there is a line continuing towards Marocco but it has been closed for decades due to political conflicts. Trains from the capital Algiers are plentiful however with several services daily.
One can also reach Oran by ferries from the ports of Marseilles, Sète, Alicante and Almería, via the national company Algérie Ferries.
There is a brand new tram in Oran (1 line, 18 km, 32 stops) opened in May 2013. Tickets are available from vendors at the stops (40 DA, 320 DA for ten trips)
There is not much in the way of sights here, but the whole city in itself is one big sight. Take a walk in the city center area to take in a massive number of over a hundred years old French-built beautiful but crumbling apartment buildings. The atmosphere is unique! It's a trip back in time to southern France in the 1940s... Sooner or later you'll stumble on Place 1er Noviembre, the main square, and the cathedral Sacre Cœur that the Algerians turned into a library. To the west of the city is the mountain called "The Sleeping Giant. On its summit is a Crusader's Fort and a Mosque that also once was a Crusader's Church. At its base is the Derbe Quartier, once the Jewish Quarter prior to 1967, it served the Russian navy for years with ladies of the night. There was a hospital built inside the mountain and Soviet submarines used to surface inside of it. Large steel doors can be seen around the mountain as you climb the road to the summit. Gangs of youths used to be a problem there in the past but may not exist now. It was the landing spot for the US army in WWII and the allied submarines used the caves that are inside the mountain and accessible under the sea. The port used to be the focus of the Soviet Navy. It was a critical strategic city for the Soviets as it is just across the Moroccan border from Tangiers the USA's Strategic Air Command "touch and go" point for the Mediterranean region.
Oran's nightlife is among the most thriving in the continent. The city has always been the capital of Algeria's parties and music. All night long, plenty of nightclubs, bars and cabarets are opened and offer music, dance and partying in the city area seafront, called La Corncihe which runs from the city's Front de Mer to the neighbouring cities of Aïn El Turk, Bou Sfer and El Ançor. All kinds of nightclubs can be found, from the very posh Atmosphère at the Sheraton Hotel that attracts now international DJs such as David Vendetta to more popular ones in the Corniche. Les Pins d'Or, SunHouse and Le Murdjadjo among others.
Oran offers a lot of options for who want to shop in Algeria. The city centre is full of boutiques, the zone is called "Les Arcades" and there can be found food, souvenirs, clothing, arts and crafts, music...
Another zone is "Mdin Jdida", it is a huge market where all Oranese go for shopping.
A mall is to open soon near the Airport in Es-Senia.
During the day, I felt safe wherever I went. After dark, however, the hotel suggested that I avoid going out. Boulevard de la Soummam was mentioned as a safe street due to the large number of restaurants. And rightly so, the city was rather empty after dark. Even the tram stops already at 9:50 pm, so Oran is not a late night city.
Changing money at a bank gives you a bad rate (approx. 127 DA for 1€ / Dec 2017). Instead, ask at a tobacconist's and they'll help you change money on the black market (approx. 198–204 DA for 1€; Dec 2017). Technically, this is illegal but the police turn a blind eye. Make sure to count your money but do not be paranoid. Algerians are a lot more honest than their neighbours.
Past rates bank/black market, €1 equals: Dec 2013 103 DA / 140 DA May 2014 107 DA / 150 DA Dec 2017 127 DA / 200 DA