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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sidi Bel Abbès (Arabic: سيدي بلعباس‎) is a capital (2005 pop. 200,000)[1] of the Sidi Bel Abbès wilaya (2005 pop. 590,000), Algeria. It is named after a Muslim holy man who is buried there.[1] It is the commercial center of an important area of vineyards, market gardens, orchards, and grain fields. It is surrounded by a wall with four gates and there is a university there. Sidi Bel Abbès is 75 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea.

It is well connected to other Algerian cities by roads and railroads. Oran is 70 kilometers north and Tlemcen is 90 kilometers west of Sidi Bel Abbès. The closest airport is in Oran.[1]



The city, on the Wadi Mékerra River, developed around a French camp built in 1849[1] . From 1931 until 1961, the city was the "holy city" or spiritual home of the French Foreign Legion, the location of its basic training camp, and the headquarters of its 1st Foreign Regiment.

In the 1930s much of the old city walls were demolished. Wide boulevards and squares replaced the traditional quarters.


The economy centers on agriculture, particularly the production of cereals such as wheat and barley and the grape industry. A farm machine manufacturing complex is located there.[1]

Famous Natives of Sidi Bel Abbès


  1. ^ a b c d e Sidi Bel Abbes, (Encyclopaedia of the Orient), internet article.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SIDI-BEL-ABBES, chief town of an arrondissement in the department of Oran, Algeria, 48 m. by rail S. of Oran, 1552 ft. above the sea, on the right bank of the Mekerra. Pop. (1906) of the town, 24,494 (of whom three-fourths are French or Spaniards); of the commune, 29,088;29,088; of the arrondissement, which includes 17 communes, 98,309. The town, which occupies an important strategic position in the plain dominated by the escarpments of Mount Tessala, has barrack accommodation for 600o troops, and is the headquarters of the ter regiment etranger, one of the two regiments known as the Foreign Legion. It is encircled by a crenellated and bastioned wall with a fosse, and has four gates, named after Oran, Daia, Mascara and Tlemcen respectively. Starting from the gates, two broad streets, shaded by plane trees, traverse the town east to west and north to south, the latter dividing the. civil from the military quarters. There are numerous fountains fed by the Mekerra. Sidi-bel-Abbes is also an important agricultural centre, wheat, tobacco and alfa being the chief articles of trade. There are numerous vineyards and olive groves in the vicinity. The town, founded by the French, derives its name from the kubba (tomb) of a marabout named Sidi-bel-Abbes, near which a redoubt was constructed by General Bedeau in 1843. The site of the town, formerly a swamp, has been thoroughly drained. The surrounding country is healthy, fertile and populous.

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