Oujda stands on the border with
Algeria .Its privileged geographicposition makes it a center for Maghreb tourism
and a meeting point of routes between Morocco and other North African countries.
Oujda was founded in the tenth century by Ziri Ben Attia, chief of the Meghraoua
tribe, and remained the capitalof his kingdom for 80 years. It successively housed
the Almoravide and Almohade dynasties, both of whom fortified the city. King Merinide
Abou Youssef rebuilt the city in 1297, constructing new walls and a Kasbah,
mosque and palace. Moulay Ismail was one of the sovereigns who did most
to develop the city.
Oujda was built on the plain of Angad, which is surrounded by one of
the most beautiful mountainous regions in Morocco: the Beni-Snassen Mountains.
Many streams run from the northern slopes to irrigate the well-kept gardens
and orchards. Crossing these imposing mountains affords a magnificent panoramic
view of Oujda.
The old medina in Oujda is separated from the new city by walls which
are evidence of the city's past, and in which there are four monumental
gateways: Bab Ouled Amran, Bab Sidi Aissa, Bab Sidi Abdelwahab and Bab
Ahl Jam Al.The Grand Mosque built in the thirteenth century I one of the
city's finest monuments.
A walk through the medina is an agreeable experience and leads to the
"Kissaria", where shops vie with one another with their local
handicraft displays. Through a gateway at the end of this square a courtyard
flanked by arches houses the weavers working away enthousiastically on
their traditional looms to sounds reminiscent of African rythms
The Place du Souk El Ma (The Water Market), where market gardeners used
to come to draw water to irrigate their land, is worth a visit. A stone's
throw from here is Souk El Knadsa, selling a wide range of traditional
items. Oujda market is also nearby. Along the city walls surrounding the
Kasbah stretches the Lalla Meriem Park, perfect for a rest amid the beauty
and freshness of exotic vegetation. The Museum
of Traditional Arms of the Oujda region is located in the park.
6 kms from the city lies the charming Sidi Yahya oasis, which used to
be a meeting point for different civilizations. The mausoleums of a number
of saints lie in the oasis, the most venerable being Sidi Yahya Ben Younes.
Some kilometres to the North Oujda is bordered by the sun - drenched
beaches of the Mediterranean, which are ideal for water sports and underwater
fishing. Saidia, a 20 km strip of fine sand, is a seaside resort greatly
appreciated by summer tourists looking for calm, attractive surroundings
and the pleasures of Mediterranean sun and sea.
The international festival attracts hordes of national and foreign visitors
who come to admire the traditional music and magnificent beach. Saidia,
located on the coastal plain of Triffa, is close to a mountainous, forested
region which is famous for its abundant game, walking, handsome caves and
pleasant picnic areas with unique views.
Between the city and the Mediterranean coast stand the Beni Snassen
mountains, famous for their caves, waterfalls, narrow vial Leos and gorges.
The Zegzel gorges, where fine orange and olive groves and orchards decorate
the slopes, provide a splendid backdrop to a very pleasant tourist route.
Terraced cultivation gives an ordered appearance to the scenery and an
agreeable division of colors. In the upper reaches of the Zegzel valley
some caves house precious secrets. The Tghasrout or "Camel" grotto
has fine caves full of limestone formations, while in the Pombo cave there
are some very rare prehistoric cave drawings. Along the return route there
is a splendid view of Guerbouss, before descending towards the plain of
Angad and returning to Oujda.
400 kilometres to the South of Oujda Figuig offers many alternatives
for excursions and pleasant stopovers. Its semi-desert climate, historical
monuments, innumerable oases and rich and varied fauna are very inviting
and tempt the visitor to stay and discover the exotic charms of the region.
The best oases to visit are Bouanane, d'Ain Chain and particularly Figuig.
(more than 100 000 trees), Bouanane and drain Chain will impress the visitor.
The "Ksours" and its minaret is interesting because of the Arab-Moslem
architecture and the materials used in its construction. Another attraction
in the region is a plentiful supply of game, including hare, partridge,
snipe, gazelle and deer.