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Oran (in Arabic Warhan), city of the North-West of Algeria, chief town of the wilaya of the same name, on the gulf of Oran. It is a very active port and a shopping and industrial centre for the country. The natural gas resources of the Sahara are conveyed until Oran by gas pipelines. The large citadel of Santa Cruz, built by the Othoman Turks, the large mosque (1796) and the Kasbah testify to its past. Oran is a university town: university of Oran (1965), university of sciences and technology (1975); it has, moreover, of the institutes of music, dramaturgy, meteorology and telecommunications. Oran was probably founded at the beginning of Xe century by Andalusian Moslems and became an important center of trade between North Africa and Spain of the Moors, then a den of pirates after their departure, in 1492. The Spaniards settled at XVIe and XVIIe century and built the fort of Santa Cruz there. Oran was annexed by France in 1831 and knew a new economic advancement, which explains the rather significant number of French who settled the French there left the city at the time of the war of Algeria (1954-1962). The population in 1987 was approximately 610 382 inhabitants.

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