Algeria / Cities and Towns /
City in north-eastern Algeria with 170,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), on the Mediterranean Sea, at the mouth of Wadi Soummam, on the foot of Mount Gouraya, allowing it an annual average rainfall of 1,000 mm.
It is the capital of Bejaļa province with 960,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 3,268 km².
Bejaļa serves as a market town for an agricultural region of Kabylia, producing olives, figs, plums, oil and wine, in addition to wool and hides. There is also some mining of iron ore and phosphates. Among its industries are the production of petrochemical products, textiles and cork.
Bejaļa is located relatively far from other major cities of Algeria, but has good road and rail connections. There is an airport and a ferry between Bejaļa and Marseilles in France.
The setting of Bejaļa is beautiful and the city itself very nice, although pollution of air and sea is on an increase. The old town lies on the mountain slope descending to the French town along the sea. The main landmarks are a 16th-century mosque and a Spanish fortress, also from the 16th century. 17 km to the east lies Tichi with one of Algeria's best beaches.
Bejaļa has a university centre.
1st millennium BCE: Founded by the Carthaginians.
2nd century: Passes to the Romans, who make it a commercial and military centre called Saldae.
5th century CE: Conquered and later fortified by the Vandal king Gaiseric.
6th century: Comes under control of Berber rulers. It is known as V'gayet.
1067: Becomes the capital of the Berber Hammadid dynasty and is named Nassiriya after Emir Nasser.
1152: Is conquered by the Almohad ruler Abd al-Mu'min.
13th century: Incorporated into the Hafsid empire of Tunis.
15th century: Bougie, as it was known, becomes a pirate stronghold.
1510: Conquered by the Spanish.
1555: Conquered by the Ottomans. This begins a period of decline, as Algiers is the preferred port.
1833: Occupied by the French. Only 2,000 people live in the town at this time.
1905: A project to improve the harbour starts.
1959: An oil pipeline turns Bejaļa into a leading port for oil transported from the oil fields at Hassi Messaoud.