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Oujda is a city in eastern Morocco with an estimated population of 1 million.The city is located about 15 kilometers west of Algeria and about 60 kilometers south of the Mediterranean Sea.It is the capital of the Oriental Region of Morocco and the birthplace of the current Algerian president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.The urban area of Oujda has a beach called Saidia.There is some evidence of a settlement during the Roman occupation, which seems to have been under the control of Berbers rather than Romans.Uqba ibn Nafi began the Arab conquest of the region, during the reign of the Umayyad Caliphate, a conquest which was completed in AD 705 by Musa bin Nusair.The modern city was founded in 994 by Ziri ibn Atiyya, king of the Zenata tribes.Further additions were made in 1048.

The city was rebuilt in the 13th century by sultan Abu Yusuf Yaqub.The city experienced great difficulty in making peace with its neighbours to the east, and sometimes to the west, because of its position in respect to the clashes between the Saadi dynasty and Turks.It was torn between the rulers of Fes and the disputed Tlemcen, and from the 16th century, it was contested by the Alaouite dynasty of Morocco and the Turks in Algiers. In 1692, Sultan Ismail led in the Turks, who established their hegemony on Algeria.Oujda fell again under Turkish rule in the following century.The French occupied it in 1844 and again in 1859.Also to the west is the site of the 1844 major Franco-Moroccan Battle of Isly. Once Morocco was occupied by the French, Oujda was used as a military base to control eastern Morocco.The city grew up along the roads that were built and owes much of its present form to the French.

The Moroccan border with Algeria is just east of Oujda, on the other side of the border is the Algerian town of Maghnia.The state of the border crossing depends on relations between the two countries which are often strained.Gharnati refers to a variety of Moroccan music originating in Andalusia. Its name is related, being derived from the Arabic name of the Spanish city of Granada.Gharnati constitutes the musical mode most used in the Moroccan city of Oujda, where besides this musical kind is omnipresent and where one organizes each year in June the International Festival of the Gharnati music.This musical art was preserved mainly in Oujda and Rabat and near Moroccan-Algerian borders at Tlemcen in Algeria.Like Oran is Oujda the destination of rai.The first musician ever to introduce Gharnati music to Morocco in the 1940s was Mohammed Salah Chaabane known as Sheikh Salah.His sons Mohammed and Nasreddine Chaabane carried on his tradition after his death in 1973.

Oujda has a strategic importance because of its location on the border.There are many economic and natural resources however, problems of overpopulation of the city and increase in unemployment rate up to 18% of the 11% on the national level. migration to foreign countries was up to 28.3% of the national total.Oujda relies heavily on trading because of its location between west of Algeria and east of Morocco.The economy of the city is directly related to the border's condition as it represents a passage for businesses directed towards Fes in the west, Talmasan in the east, Figuig in the south and Melilla in the north. As for the Industry in Oujda, the first mill was founded in 1928.The industry showed significant improvement during the seventies and eighties but was still humble compared to the industry of major Moroccan cities.There are few touristic and historic locations such as Sidi Yahya's oasis.However due to the lack of resources tourism does not contribute much to Oujda's economy.On March 18, 2003 king Muhammad the sixth has indicated to the importance of reviving the economy of the eastern area. In the context of this effort, Technopol Oujda was established. Other efforts such as road improvement, airport expansion and other project to improve the cities economy was founded.

How to Reach

By Air

Angads Airport (IATA: OUD, ICAO: GMFO) is an airport serving Oujda,a city in the Oriental region in Morocco. Also known as Oujda Angads Airport, it is located about 12 kilometres (7 mi) north of Oujda and about 600 kilometres (373 mi) northeast of Casablanca, near the Algerian border.

By Train

The city is the endpoint of the main railroad from Casablanca via Fes and Taourirt before the border with Algeria.There are several day and nighttrains to and from the city linking it to the Western part of the country.Three trains a day arrive from Western Morocco.From Fez, the trip will take about five and a half hours and cost exactly 158/108 Dirhams (First/Second class).

By Car

Oujda is accessible from the North via Melilla / Nador as well as from the West via Fes / Taza. Arriving from the South is also possible from Figuig and Bouarfa.Currently, the Algerian border is closed which prevents land travel to/from the East.There are grand taxi's to many destinations including: Taza, Saidia (20 dirhams), Berkane (18 dirhams), Jerada (15 dirhams), Ain Beni Mathar (15 dirhams).

By Bus

The bus station is located next to the grand taxi station in the South of the city.Many destinations are possible.From Oudja to Taza is roughly 30 dirhams, Oujda to Fes around 60 dirhams.

Key places to visit
Atlas Mountains, Zagora Camel Trekking, Essaouira Windsurfing, Mount Toubkal, Taourirt Kasbah


Places to Visit

Atlas Mountains

The High Atlas features some of the most beautiful regions of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.These mountains are the highest in the area, with Toubkal stretching to 4.165 meters above sea level.The Middle Atlas reaches heights of 3,350 meters and the highest peaks of the Anti Atlas reach 2.531 meters.The High Atlas has walks to suit all abilities, but mules and horses are also available in the villages if riding suits you better than walking.The villages in the High Atlas are small but thriving and are home to the Berbers who are enduring, hospitable and very friendly people.The villages offer stylish Moroccan accommodation in the local houses and there are established guides available. The high peaks force the clouds to give high quantities of rainfall; therefore the High Atlas has many fertile valleys surrounded by rivers and waterfalls.Mineral deposits found in the Atlas range include gold, silver, lead, iron, phosphates, lead and zinc.

Zagora Camel Trekking

Unless you already have an affinity for these animals, you probably shouldn't try a camel trek that lasts longer than a day. While the experience can feel authentic and provide an interesting way to see the sights, it can also make you feel sore and tired.Despite these after-effects, it is still well worth the effort.

Essaouira Windsurfing

Welcome to the Moroccan town of Essaouira! No longer a mid-1960's hippy hangout (Jimi Hendrix used to party here); Essaouira has evolved into a still-undiscovered gem of pristine beaches, great windsurfing, laid back nightspots and hearty restaurants.The narrow streets keep traffic to a minimum and encourage walking. With little effort you'll find yourself walking past the multi-colored doors, tall stucco-colored houses and the eclectic mix of euro-tourism and weather-worn locals.

Mount Toubkal

Standing at an intimidating height of 4 167 meters, Toubkal is the highest peak in the Atlas Mountain range. It is located just outside of Marrakech, in the breathtaking Toubkal National Park.No-one is exactly sure when the first ascent of this peak took place, as the first date documented is 12 June 1923. Hubert Dolbeau, the Marquis de Segonzac and Vincent Berger were the first Europeans to climb Toubkal, but it is possible that the mountain had been ascended before them by Berber tribesmen while on hunting expeditions, but was never documented.Today it is a popular mountain climbing destination, and mountaineers from all over the world come to Morocco to take on this magnificent peak.

Taourirt Kasbah

The palace building has almost three hundred rooms, and more than twenty riads formed part of the settlement which was occupied by the sons, cousins and extended family of el Glaoui chiefs, along with their servants.They were located there to protect the interests of the clan chiefs in this strategically important area.This control was supported by the French authorities during colonial rule, as the el Glaoui leaders kept the southern tribes in check.Local families living toward the rear of Taourirt Kasbah are keen to show visitors around and offer gems of historical information – for a fee. To the right of the Kasbah is a cafe which offers visitors refreshment and a place to relax and watch Taourirt Kasbah being drenched in shades of gold and copper by the setting sun.

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