City of Oujda, Morocco - A Friendly City
What attracts visitors to Oujda, is the friendliness of the local, its night life and a strong French influence. If you plan to visit the city, here are some things you should know.
The city of Oujda is in a very strategic region of morocco. It stands not far from Spain, the Algerian Borders in the northeastern part of Morocco. This gives it a mixed culture with an Arabic and European influence. It is the capital city of northeastern part of Morocco, the Oriental Region and is about 15 kilometers west of Algeria and 60 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea. The Algerian president Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika was born in this city. The overall feel about Oujda is one of a large city of Morocco but without the hassle and lively and easy going.
Oujda was founded in 994 AD by Ziri ibn Attia who was the chief of Zenata tribes. It was the capital of Maghreb during the first 80 years due to its legacy of two dynasties, the Almoravides and Almohads. There were several additions made in 1048. The Sultan Abou Youssef rebuilt the city in the 13th century giving it an imperial character. He built the Kasbah, mosques, the palace and the fortifications. Under the Islamic rulers it developed to a large extent and various sectors like agriculture, architecture, social activities were developed. The Mosque Al-Kabire can be seen even now. The city is built on the plains of Angad with the beautiful mountains of Beni-Snassen surrounding it.
The French were able to occupy it twice in 1844 and 1859 and once they occupied Morocco Oujda came up as a major military base to control eastern Morocco. The city sprung up mainly along the roads built by the French and it current glory can be owed to those times. The border of Morocco that is shares with Algeria is to the east of Oujda at the little town in Algeria of Maghnia. Depending upon the two countries’ relations the border is opened. Oujda was also occupied by the Ottomans in Algiers from the 18th to the late 19th century and by the Ziyanids from Algiers during the 13th and 14th century.
What to see?
There are not too many monuments or historical places in Oujda as in some other cities of Morocco. However it is major attraction for those travelers who wish to relax. You can visit the Rif mountains and come back and take a breath here. From here you can take your journey further to the Figuig and the Sahara all rejuvenated. It is also popular for the unusual characteristic of music of the city. There are simple and entertaining musical shows that are put up regularly and you can even catch music flowing through the houses as you Rome the city. These shows are worth watch or rather listening. The houses you would notice are fairly modern. You can have a hassle free walk to the Kissaria where you would find shops selling a large variety of handicrafts.
There are four major monuments that you must visit, the Bab Ouled Amran, Bab Sidi Aissa, Bab Sidi Abdelwahab and the Bab Ahl Jam. The Grand Mosque that was built in the thirteenth century is very beautiful and you cannot afford to not explore it. About 6 kms east of Oujda you can find a green oasis source which is home to the small pilgrimage to the tomb of Sidi Yahia mara. It is a pilgrimage not just for the Muslims but even Jews as and Christians also.
Oujda also has the Oujda Angad Airport that caters to the international traffic from Europe. The University Mohammed Premier which is a French and Arabic language university is also in Oujda which a major learning center. There are several hotel that provide accommodation and server authentic food. The hotels are pretty reasonable and you would find all very friendly and helpful. It has a distinct night life also.
Overall the city is simple and with very less tourists. For those who are looking for a place to relax and enjoy tranquility, Oujda is the place to be.