Infobox City
official_name = Béjaïa
nickname = Bougie


mapsize = 175px
map_caption = Location of Béjaïa within Algeria
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = Province
subdivision_name1 = Béjaïa Province
subdivision_name = Algeria
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Hannache Tahar (2008-2012)
area_note =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 3268.26
area_land_km2 =
area_water_km2 =
population_as_of = 1998
population_note =
population_total = 147076
area_urban_km2 =
population_metro =
area_metro_km2 =
area_metro_sq_mi =
population_density_sq_mi =
population_density_km2 = 1303
timezone = CET
utc_offset = +1
elevation_m =
elevation_ft =
website =
established_title =
established_date =
footnotes =

Béjaïa or Bougie (Kabyle Bgayet or city.


The town is overlooked by the mountain "Yemma Gouraya", whose profile is said to resemble a sleeping woman; other nearby scenic spots include the "Pic des Singes" (Monkey Peak) and the "Aiguades" beach. All three are contained in the "Gouraya National Park". The "Soummam" river runs past the town.


A minor port in Carthaginian and Roman times, Béjaïa was the Roman "Saldae", a veteran colony founded by emperor Vespasian of great importance in the province of Mauretania Caesariensis, later in the fraction Sitifensis.

In the second or third century AD, Gaius Cornelius Peregrinus, a "decurion" (town councillor) from Saldae was a "tribunus" (military commander) of the auxiliary garrison at Alauna Carvetiorum in northern Britain. An altar dedicated to him was discovered shortly before 1587 in the north-west corner of the fort, where it had probably been re-used in a late-Roman building ( [http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pe_prb/a/altar.aspx source] ).

It became the capital of the short-lived African kingdom of the Germanic Vandals (founded in 429-430), which was wiped out circa 533 by the Byzantines who established the African prefecture and later the Exarchate of Carthage. It had disappeared but was refounded by the Berber Hammadid dynasty (whose capital it became) in the 11th century, and became an important port and cultural center. As a principal town of the Hammadid leader, Emir En Nasser, Béjaïa flourished and was renamed En Nassria. En Nasser's son, el Mansour, built an impressive palace inside the fortifications constructed by his father. The Hammadid Empire fell in 1152, when the Almohad ruler,Abd el Moumen, invaded from Morocco. The son of a Pisan merchant (and probably consul), posthumously known as Fibonacci, there learned under the Almohad dynasty about Arabic numerals, and introduced them and modern mathematics into feudal Europe.

In the 13th century Béjaïa was acquired by the Hafsid Empire when the dynasty took controlof Tunis. Pirates were active along the Barbary Coast starting in the 16th century."Bejaia & the Corniche Kabyle", Morocco, Algeria & Tunisia: a travel survival kit", Geoff Crowther & Hugh Finlay, Lonely Planet, 2nd Edition, April 1992, p. 292.]

After a Spanish occupation (1510–55), the city was taken by the Ottoman Turks. Until it was captured by the French in 1833, Béjaïa was a stronghold of the Barbary pirates (see Barbary States).

It was Christianized in the 5th century, became officially Arian under the Vandals, and then Muslim under the Berbers. City landmarks include a 16th-century mosque and a "casbah" (fortress) built by the Spanish in 1545.

In the museum of Béjaïa can be seen a picture of Orientalist painter Maurice Boitel, who painted in the city for a while.


The population of the city in 2005 was 187,076, while the population of the whole wilaya (province) was 905,000. [http://www.wbejaia.gov.dz/population.htm]


The northern terminus of the Hassi Messaoud oil pipeline from the Sahara, Béjaïa is the principal oil port of the Western Mediterranean. Exports, aside from crude petroleum, include iron, phosphates, wines, dried figs, and plums. The city also has textile and cork industries.

Friendly relationship

Béjaïa has an official friendly relationship ("protocole d'amitié") with: [ [http://www.mairie-brest.fr/brest/jumelages.htm Les jumelages de Brest ] ]

*flagicon|FRA Brest, France (1995)


External links

* [http://www.bgayet.net Bgayet.Net]
** fr icon [http://www.bgayet.net/histoire/Introduction-historique.html History of Béjaïa]
* Catholic Encyclopaedia - various entries
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=bejaia+algeria&sll=48.392887,-4.479418&sspn=0.050724,0.123596&ie=UTF8&z=13&ll=36.74026,5.07122&spn=0.061215,0.173035&t=k&om=1 Google map of Béjaïa]

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  • Bejaïa — [bə jī′ə] seaport in NE Algeria, on the Mediterranean: pop. 115,000 …   English World dictionary

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