First time I ever heard about Oran was when I was around 14, reading Camus. He was inspired by it, loved it, hated it. For him, it was the capital of boredom,it was ugly, it was beautiful, it was the sight of freedom, the healing sea.
Throughout the years, I learned much more about the city. It’s the second largest city in Algeria, its history is full of different rulers and influences, and that’s very much obvious in the city’s architecture and diverse lifestyles. The word Oran derives from the Berber root hr’ meaning lion.
In the movie Casablanca, the route for refugees fleeing to the Americas was Paris to Marseille, across the Mediterranean to Oran, then by train, auto or foot to Casablanca. If they were lucky enough to get an exit visa, they went on to Lisbon from there.
That’s all for cute little facts. I’ll let the photos speak, together with some of my favourite Camus + Oran quotes.
“Everyone agreed that, considering their somewhat extraordinary character, they were out of place there. For its ordinariness is what first strikes one about the town of Oran.”
“In Oran, as elsewhere, for want of time and thought, people have to love one another without knowing it.”
“capital of boredom besieged by innocence and beauty”
“It seems that the people of Oran are like that friend of Flaubert who, on the point of death, casting a last glance at the irreplaceable earth, exclaimed: “Close the window, it’s too beautiful.”
“This Hell of the present is his kingdom at last.”
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