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Bejaia

 

Bejaia

Béjaïa
ⴱⴳⴰⵢⴻⵜ Bgayet بجاية
Commune and town
Béjaïa
Béjaïa

Coordinates: 36°45′N 5°04′E / 36.750°N 5.067°E / 36.750; 5.067Coordinates: 36°45′N 5°04′E / 36.750°N 5.067°E / 36.750; 5.067

Country  Algeria
Province Béjaïa Province
Government
 • Mayor Hannache Tahar (2008-2012)
Area
 • Total 120.22 km2 (46.42 sq mi)
Elevation 949 m (3,114 ft)
Population (2008)
 • Total 177,988
 • Density 1,500/km2 (3,800/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
Postal code 06000

Béjaïa (Berber: Bgayet, ⴱⴳⴰⵢⴻⵜ) is a Mediterranean port city on the Gulf of Béjaïa in Algeria; it is the capital of Béjaïa Province, Kabylia. Béjaïa is the largest city in the Kabylian region, and is one of the largest principally Berber-speaking cities of Algeria.

Geography


The town is overlooked by the mountain Yemma Gouraya, whose profile is said to resemble a sleeping woman; other nearby scenic spots include the Aiguades beach and the Pic des Singes (Monkey Peak); the latter site is a habitat for the endangered Barbary Macaque, Macaca sylvanus, which prehistorically had a much broader distribution than at present. All three of these geographic features are contained in the Gouraya National Park. The Soummam river runs past the town.

Under French rule, it was formerly known under various European names, such as Budschaja in German, Bugia in Italian, and Bougie [buˈʒi] (the latter two being words for candle, derived from the town name because of its wax trade).[1]

History

Béjaïa was first inhabited by Numidian Berbers. A minor port in Carthaginian and Roman times, Béjaïa was the Roman Saldae, a veteran colony founded by emperor Vespasian of great importance in the province of Mauretania Caesariensis, later in the fraction Sitifensis.

In the second or third century AD, Gaius Cornelius Peregrinus, a decurion (town councillor) from Saldae was a tribunus (military commander) of the auxiliary garrison at source).


It became the capital of the short-lived African kingdom of the Germanic Vandals (founded in 429-430), which was wiped out circa 533 by the Byzantines who established the African prefecture and later the Exarchate of Carthage. It had disappeared but was refounded by the Berber Hammadid dynasty (whose capital it became) in the 11th century, and became an important port and cultural center. As a principal town of the Hammadid leader, Emir En Nasser, Béjaïa flourished and was renamed En Nassria. En Nasser's son, el Mansour, built an impressive palace inside the fortifications constructed by his father. The Hammadid Empire fell in 1152, when the Almohad ruler, Abd al-Mu'min, invaded central Maghreb from Morocco.[2] The son of a Pisan merchant (and probably consul), posthumously known as Fibonacci, there learned under the Almohad dynasty about Indian mathematics which he called Modus Indorum , Hindu-Arabic numerals, and introduced them and modern mathematics into feudal Europe.


In the 13th century Béjaïa was acquired by the Hafsid Empire when the dynasty took control of Tunis. Pirates were active along the Barbary Coast starting in the 16th century.[2]

After a Spanish occupation (1510–55), the city was taken by the Ottoman Turks in the Capture of Bougie in 1555. Until it was captured by the French in 1833, Béjaïa was a stronghold of the Barbary pirates (see Barbary States). The city consisted of Kabyle Berbers, Arabic speaking Moors, Morsicos and Jews increased by Jewish refugees from Spain.

It was Christianized in the 5th century, became officially Arian under the Vandals, and then Muslim under the Berbers. City landmarks include a 16th-century mosque and a casbah (fortress) built by the Spanish in 1545.

A picture of Orientalist painter Maurice Boitel, who painted in the city for a while, can be found in the museum of Béjaïa.

Climate

Béjaïa, like most cities along the coast of Algeria, has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa), with very warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters.

Climate data for Béjaïa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 27.7
(81.9)
32.0
(89.6)
37.0
(98.6)
33.0
(91.4)
37.3
(99.1)
42.8
(109)
44.7
(112.5)
47.6
(117.7)
42.5
(108.5)
40.0
(104)
37.4
(99.3)
33.0
(91.4)
47.6
(117.7)
Average high °C (°F) 16.4
(61.5)
16.8
(62.2)
17.7
(63.9)
19.3
(66.7)
22.0
(71.6)
25.3
(77.5)
28.7
(83.7)
29.3
(84.7)
27.8
(82)
24.3
(75.7)
20.3
(68.5)
16.9
(62.4)
22.07
(71.7)
Daily mean °C (°F) 12.1
(53.8)
12.3
(54.1)
13.1
(55.6)
14.7
(58.5)
17.6
(63.7)
21.0
(69.8)
24.0
(75.2)
24.8
(76.6)
23.2
(73.8)
19.7
(67.5)
15.8
(60.4)
12.7
(54.9)
17.58
(63.66)
Average low °C (°F) 7.7
(45.9)
7.6
(45.7)
8.5
(47.3)
10.1
(50.2)
13.1
(55.6)
16.6
(61.9)
19.3
(66.7)
20.2
(68.4)
18.5
(65.3)
15.0
(59)
11.2
(52.2)
8.4
(47.1)
13.02
(55.44)
Record low °C (°F) −1.0
(30.2)
−4.0
(24.8)
−0.1
(31.8)
2.0
(35.6)
5.8
(42.4)
7.8
(46)
13.0
(55.4)
11.0
(51.8)
11.0
(51.8)
8.0
(46.4)
1.6
(34.9)
−2.4
(27.7)
−4
(24.8)
Precipitation mm (inches) 99.7
(3.925)
85.9
(3.382)
100.4
(3.953)
70.7
(2.783)
41.2
(1.622)
16.2
(0.638)
5.8
(0.228)
13.0
(0.512)
40.4
(1.591)
89.5
(3.524)
99.7
(3.925)
135.0
(5.315)
797.5
(31.398)
 % humidity 78.5 77.6 77.9 77.9 79.9 76.9 75.0 74.6 76.4 76.3 75.3 76.0 76.86
Source #1: NOAA (1968-1990)[3]
Source #2: climatebase.ru (extremes, humidity)[4]

Demography

The population of the city in 2005 was 187,076, while the population of the whole wilaya (province) was 905,000.[5]

Historical populations[6]
Year Population Year Population
1901 14,600 1954 43,900
1906 17,500 1960 63,000
1911 10,000 1966 49,900
1921 19,400 1974 104,000
1926 15,900 1977 74,000 (town)
89,500 (municipality)
1931 25,300 1987 114,500
1936 30,700 1998 144,400
1948 28,500

Economy

The northern terminus of the Hassi Messaoud oil pipeline from the Sahara, Béjaïa is the principal oil port of the Western Mediterranean. Exports, aside from crude petroleum, include iron, phosphates, wines, dried figs, and plums. The city also has textile and cork industries.

Cevital has its head office in the city.[7]

Education

University of Béjaïa is located in the city.

Friendly relationship

Béjaïa has an official friendly relationship (protocole d'amitié) with:[8]

References

Related people

External links

Algeria portal

Template:Sister-inline

  • (French) Bgayet.Net
    • (French) History of Béjaïa
  • Google map of Béjaïa

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