Museums and Heritage

Fort Santa Cruz, Oran is one of the three forts in Oran, the second largest port city of Algeria; the other two forts are Fort de la Moune at the western end of the port and Fort St. Philippe, a replacement of the old castle of the Saints known in Spanish as Castillo de los Santos, at the centre of Oran.

The Pasha’s Mosque: Just below the western part of Chateau Neuf, comes the Pasha’s Mosque which was constructed in 1797. Its foundation was attested by the great elevated, Sidi Hassan Bacha. The palace reflects elegance and brightness of joy at its liberation from foreign rule.

The Ahmed Zabana National Museum is of particular interest, as it outlines the tumultuous history of the region when activists used many avenues to gain independence – a goal finally achieved in 1962 with Algeria’s independence being declared on July 5 of that year. In addition to the history section of the museum, there are some interesting natural history exhibits, as well as the works of a number of Algerian and foreign artists. Inside the museum, the first floor is dedicated to telling the story of Algeria’s battle for independence from a local perspective, bringing the harsh reality of conflict into perspective with a list of names of local people who were executed by the French in the period from 1954 through to 1962.

The Bey’s Palace: Most areas on the headland is a military zone, but that shouldn’t stop you from checking out the Chateau Neuf Castle. It is an old fort built in the 14th century by Merinid Sultan Abou Hassan. The Bey’s is open, though some gates are closed, you may have to notify the guards. The huge walls were first constructed in 1340s by Abou Hassam and redrafted by the Spaniards in year 1509, the Ottomans touched it in 1700s while the French in 19th century. The location is amazing, ahead of the town, with port and sea and great gates. The building is now dominated by the concrete shell of a stalled building project.

The Spain’s door is located at the end of the entrance ramp of the Casbah (Alcazaba, Alcazar of the Arabs, el-Castillo Viejo, the “Old Castle” of the Spaniards), coming from the Quinconces Square. The access from this side is walled today. It can only be reached by the rue du vieux Chateau, in the south of the Prefecture. This monumental vaulted door is all that remains of the Palace of the Casbah, occupied by the Spanish governors. This two-storey building consisted of thirty-seven rooms, offices, stables, sheds, and a military hospital.

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