5 good reasons to go to Oran
To see / do
Culture and history
A library in a cathedral
Right in the heart of Oran lies a library in a cathedral! Built in 1984, the Sacred Heart was designed in the Roman-Byzantine style that was in vogue in early-19th-century France. Its golden dome, mosaics and cupolas make it one of the most iconic buildings in town and a must-see for visitors.
The Santa-Cruz chapel and fort
Perched high on the Aïdour mountain is the Santa-Cruz fort. Used by the Spanish to resist Ottoman invasion, it underwent many different renovations and alterations, culminating with French occupiers restoring the fort in the 19th century. Today, the structure is open to visitors. Further down the mountain is the Notre-Dame de Santa-Cruz chapel, a pretty white church that offers gorgeous views over Oran.
A trip to the Zabana museum
Soak up some culture at the Zabana museum. Its many different sections showcase artwork from the Algiers School and offer visitors a glimpse of the city's past. Fine art, prehistory, Islamic art and Oran's old town are all explored here, giving you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of this Algerian city. Many of the pieces on display were donated by archaeologist and museum founder Louis Demaëght.
A night at the theatre
During your time in Oran, why not enjoy a show in French or Arabic) at the Abdelkader Alloula regional theatre? A hefty line-up of events (stand-up, world music, etc.) are put on throughout the year in this spectacular venue. Built in 1900, this is an impressive setting for any show.
If there's one sure-fire way of immersing yourself in local culture, it's a trip to one of Oran's markets. Michelet and Bastille are devoted to stall after stall of local produce, while Medina Jdida focuses on crafts (jewellery, leather, pottery, etc.) and spices.
Kalentika, an Algerian speciality
If there's one national speciality you have to try, it's kalentika, karentika or garentita. These flans are made with chickpea flower and seasoned with cumin. Kalentika is served in a sandwich. It takes its name from the Spanish word caliente, meaning hot.
Makrouds, northern Africa's pastries
Makrouds, or makrouts, are piled high in Algerian pastry shops and bakeries. This meltingly soft little diamond-shaped cakes are made from semolina dough stuffed with date paste. They are fried in oil and rolled in orange blossom-scented honey and are served with mint tea.
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