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Coordinates: 35°56′N 0°05′E / 35.933°N 0.083°E / 35.933; 0.083

Former coat of arms

Mostaganem (Arabic: مستغانم‎) is a port city in and capital of Mostaganem province, in the northwest of Algeria. The city, founded in the 11th century lies on the Gulf of Arzew, Mediterranean Sea and is 72 km ENE of Oran. It has 130,288 inhabitants as of the 1998 census.

The city was founded in the 11th century as Murustage but has origins going back to Punic and Roman times, when it had the name Cartenna. In 1516 it was captured by the pirate Barbarossa and became a centre for Mediterranean sea piracy, as well as a commercial port. By 1700 it had come under Ottoman rule and in 1833 the city was taken by France and a garrison established. Algeria became independent in 1962.

The city is divided in two by a ravine of the river Aïn Sefra, with the modern town to southwest, and the old Muslim city, Tidgit, to the northeast.

In 2010 a tunnel moving under the city towards the city centre is expected to change circulation by a lot. Also, new buildings, some modern and some in colonial style are being added to this growing city. The new autoroute from the capital Algiers towards Oran will make it easier also to access Mostaganem by road from the capital, as Mostaganem has no public airport. The road connecting Oran (Algerias' 2nd largest city, around 80km from Mostaganem to the west) will remain the same, a crowded 2 lane in each direction highway.

The port of Mostaganem is being used for unloading of all sorts of cargo, ranging from provisions to cars and pipelines. As in most ports of Algeria, it is not allowed to sailors to exit the port and visit the city. The port is being shared by large transport vessels and fishing boats alike. A new, smaller port for fishing boats has been constructed, but is currently not used.

Foreign credit cards cannot be used anywhere in the town, either to pay or to extract money, and the Air France bureau is currently installing a system to allow for payment of airplane tickets by credit card.

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Cultural Heritage Mostaganem

Mostaganem, proud of its cultural heritage, flatters itself in having given birth to illustrious figures such as playwright Ould Abderrahmane Abdelkader AKA Kaki, cinema director Mohamed Chouikh, historians such as Moulay Belhamissi, and lyricists such as Kadda Medjeded. A major centre of popular and amateur theater, it is home to important specialists of Andalusian classical music (Moulay Benkrizi), Chaabi (Maazouz Bouadjadj, Habib Bettahar), masters of traditional Bedouin music (Sheikh Hamada, Sheikh Djilali Ain Tedeles) and poets such as Sheikh Abdelkader Bentobdji and Sidi Lakhdar Benkhelouf who are authors of well-known qacidates of Malhun poetry bequeathed as much to the Chaabi legacy as to Bedouins such as Abdelkader ya Boualem.


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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