Chateau Neuf in Oran
Algeria may not be the most common tourist destination on the planet, but it is steadily gaining popularity due to the diversity of architectural attractions that can be found here. From Roman ruins to Turkish turrets, Algerian architecture is filled with contrasts and therein lies its appeal.
A visit to the Algerian city of Oran will provide you with plenty of examples of this. The city is easily divided into Spanish, Turkish and French sections which were built at different periods in the city’s rich and interesting history. A trip to the Spanish part of the city will have you arrive at the doorsteps of the fabulous Chateau Neuf. The name in itself is a contrast since it is French yet the building was built by the Spaniards in 1563, long before the strife of the civil wars began. At around that time Philip V of Spain saw fit to build a fortress that would serve several purposes. For one, it had to be grand enough to serve as the seat of the Spanish governor. For another, it had to help protect the city’s precious waters. The castle has fantastic Andalucian-Moorish arches, a keep and a drawbridge and actually served to protect the city of Oran from pirate incursions many years ago. Appropriately, it overlooks the old port in the old town and has been re-used on many occasions over the years.
Once the Spaniards pulled out and ceased to use the fortress to house their governors, this grand edifice came to be used as a seat for the beys of Oran. Its prominent role in history did not end there. Some time later during French rule, it became the headquarters for the French army, which it has remained for many years. However it seems that things are now changing again for this aged stronghold. After such a grand and varied history, the winds of change have swept on it once more. Investors have seen fit to restore the structure – no doubt making good use of the building’s legacy as a place of rank and stature – into a hotel. The location overlooking the beautiful waters of the ocean and the history of the old port, combined with the sturdy stone walls and the striking architecture make it a perfect choice. Perhaps you may even choose to stay in the Chateau Neuf when you visit Oran.