The town is overlooked by the mountain Yemma Gouraya
, whose profile is said to resemble a sleeping woman. Other nearby scenic spots include the Aiguades
beach and the Pic des Singes
(Monkey Peak); the latter site is a habitat
for the endangered Barbary macaque
, which prehistorically had a much broader distribution than at present. All three of these geographic features are located in the Gouraya National Park
. The Soummam river
runs past the town.
Under French rule
, it was formerly known under various European names, such as Budschaja
in German, Bugia
in Italian, and Bougie [buˈʒi]
in French. The French and Italian versions, due to the town's wax trade, eventually acquired the metonymic
meaning of "candle
Antiquity and Byzantine era
The Western Roman empire in the second century AD during the reign of Hadrian
. Saldae can be seen on the south coast of the Mediterranean.
According to Al-Bakri
, the bay was first inhabited by Andalusians.
Coin of the Hafsids
, with ornamental Kufic
script, from Béjaïa, 1249–1276.
Muslim and feudal rulers
After the 7th-century Muslim conquest, it was refounded as "Béjaïa"; the Hammadid dynasty
made it their capital, and it became an important port and centre of culture.
Historic map of Algiers and Béjaïa by Piri Reis
The son of a Pisan
merchant (and probably consul), posthumously known as Fibonacci
(c. 1170 – c. 1250), there learned about mathematics (which he called "Modus Indorum") and Hindu-Arabic numerals
. He introduced modern mathematics into medieval Europe. A mathematical-historical analysis of Fibonacci's context and proximity to Béjaïa, an important exporter of wax in his time, has suggested that it was actually the bee-keepers of Béjaïa and the knowledge of the bee ancestries that truly inspired the Fibonacci sequence
rather than the rabbit reproduction model as presented in his famous book Liber Abaci
According to Muhammad al-Idrisi
, the port was, in the 11th century, a market place between Mediterranean merchant ships and caravans coming from the Sahara desert. Christian merchants settled fundunqs
) in Bejaïa. The Italian city of Pisa
was closely tied to Béjaïa, where it built one of its two permanent consulates in the African continent.
After a Spanish
occupation (1510–55), the city was taken by the Ottoman Turks
in the Capture of Bougie
in 1555. For nearly three centuries, Béjaïa was a stronghold of the Barbary pirates (see Barbary States
). The city consisted of Arabic-speaking Moors
increased by Jewish refugees from Spain. Berber peoples lived not in the city but the surrounding villages and travelled to the city occasionally for markets.
City landmarks include a 16th-century mosque and a fortress built by the Spanish in 1545.
A picture of the Orientalist painter Maurice Boitel
, who painted in the city for a while, can be found in the museum of Béjaïa.
French colonial rule
It was captured by the French
in 1833 and became a part of colonial Algeria
. Most of the time it was the seat ('sous-préfecture') of an arrondissement
(mid 20th century, 513,000 inhabitants, of whom 20,000 'Bougiates' in the city itself) in the Département of Constantine
, until Bougie was promoted to département
itself in 1957.
That same day, at 4:40 PM, a German Luftwaffe
air raid struck Béjaïa with thirty Ju 88
bombers and torpedo planes. The transports Awatea
were sunk and the monitor HMS Roberts
was damaged. The following day, the anti-aircraft ship SS Tynwald
was torpedoed and sank, while the transport Karanja
was bombed and destroyed.
Christianity survived the Arab conquest, the disappearance of the old city of Saldae, and the founding of the new city of Béjaïa. A letter from Pope Gregory VII
(1073–1085) exists, addressed to clero et populo Buzee
(the clergy and people of Béjaïa), in which he writes of the consecration of a bishop named Servandus for Christian North Africa.
No longer a residential bishopric, Saldae
(v.) is today listed by the Catholic Church
as a titular see
and still has incumbents by that title (mostly of the lowest (episcopal) rank, some of the intermediary archiepiscopal rank).
Titular see of Bugia
This titular see was for a long time, alternatively and concurrently
with the city's authentic Roman Latin name Saldae
(v.), called Bugia
, the Italian language
form (used in the Roman Curia
) of Béjaïa.
The 'modern' form and title, Bugia, seems out of use, after having had the following incumbents, all of the lowest (episcopal) rank :
- Miguel Morro (1510 – ?), as Auxiliary Bishop of Mallorca (Balearic Spain) (1510 – ?)
- Fernando de Vera y Zuñiga, Augustinians (O.E.S.A.) (1614.02.17 – 1628.11.13), as Auxiliary Bishop of Badajoz (Spain) (1614.02.17 – 1628.11.13); later Metropolitan Archbishop of Santo Domingo, finally Archbishop-Bishop of Cusco (Peru) (1629.07.16 – death 1638.11.09)
- François Perez (1687.02.05 – death 1728.09.20), as Apostolic Vicar of Cochin (Vietnam) (1687.02.05 – 1728.09.20)
- Antonio Mauricio Ribeiro (1824.09.27 – death ?), as Auxiliary Bishop of Évora (Portugal) (1824.09.27 – ?)
- George Hilary Brown (5 June 1840 until 22 April 1842), as first and only Apostolic Vicar of Lancashire District (England) (1840.06.05 – 1850.09.29), later Titular Bishop of Tlous (1842.04.22 – 1850.09.29), promoted first bishop of successor see Liverpool (1850.09.29 – 1856.01.25)
The population of the city in 2008 in the latest census was 177,988.
Maritime front of Béjaïa: a view of its industrial facilities and the airport.
Twin towns – sister cities
Béjaïa has an official friendly relationship (protocole d'amitié) with:
- ^ "Bougie (n)". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 29 November 2012. Etymology: < French bougie wax candle, < Bougie (Arabic Bijiyah), a town in Algeria which carried on a trade in wax Available online to subscribers
- ^ a b Bejaia - Algeria, Muslimheritage.com
- ^ Stephen Ramsay, Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism, (University of Illinois Press, 2011), 64.
- ^ Scott, T.C.; Marketos, P. (March 2014), On the Origin of the Fibonacci Sequence (PDF), MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews
- ^ a b Stefano Antonio Morcelli, Africa christiana, Volume I, Brescia 1816, p. 269
- ^ a b c H. Jaubert, Anciens évêchés et ruines chrétiennes de la Numidie et de la Sitifienne, in Recueil des Notices et Mémoires de la Société archéologique de Constantine, vol. 46, 1913, pp. 127-129
- ^ J. Frank Henderson, "Moslems and the Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar. Documentation" (2003), p. 18
- ^ J. Mesnage, L'Afrique chrétienne, Paris 1912, pp. 8 e 268-269
- ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 963
- ^ "Climate Normals for Béjaïa". Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- ^ "Béjaïa, Algeria". Climatebase.ru. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- ^ a b c d "Cap Carbon". Office Nationale de Signalisation Maritime. Ministere des Travaux Publics. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
- ^ List of Lights, Pub. 113: The West Coasts of Europe and Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and Azovskoye More (Sea of Azov) (PDF). List of Lights. United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. 2015.
- ^ "Eastern Algeria". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
- ^ populstat.info Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ "Cevital & vous Archived 12 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine." Cevital. Retrieved on 26 August 2011. "Adresse : Nouveau Qaui Port de -Béjaïa - Algérie"
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