Jijel – A Secluded Getaway
The small settlement of Jijel is located in the northeastern region of Algeria and is the administrative centre and capital of the Jijel Province. It is not a bustling city or town, filled with nightlife and noteworthy tourist attractions. Jijel is more a resort settlement that does have a few important industries, but is a peaceful destination in Algeria where tourists spend most of their time relaxing on the breathtaking beaches or challenging Lady Lucky in the Jijel Casino.
Jijel was originally established as a trading post that changed ownership from the Phoenicians, to the Romans, on to the Arabs and even fell into the hands of the legendary pirate Hayreddin Barbarossa. Of course, most of the existence of these eras and the occupation by the French was destroyed by the 1856 earthquake that left nothing but memories and devastation in its wake.
Today the town of Jijel has a permanent population of approximately a hundred thousand that concentrates mainly on the production of agricultural products such as citrus fruits and fishing. Most of the population in Jijel is either Kabyli Berbers or Arabs. Three larger industries, namely cork production, steel making and leather tanning have managed to flourish here. The cork production industry has led to the town being surrounded by vast cork tree plantations, bring life to the landscapes. Another industry that has become vital to Algeria is the Jijel Tannery. It is the leading producer of furniture, leather crafts and footwear in the country. Important establishments, such as a mosque, hospital, the University of Jijel and two hotels, are available in the town.
The only noteworthy site in Jijel is the Phoenician tombs, located outside the town. These fascinating historical structures managed to survive the earthquake. Other than that, the greatest attractions to the town are the abundance of natural wonders, wildlife, birds and the pristine beaches. The town is mostly visited by Algerian locals who enjoy the peace and tranquility that is found here. Every so often, a foreign visitor will arrive to appreciate this secluded getaway.
Jijel can be reached by road from Algiers, Constantine, Bejaia and Setif. The rugged landscape of the town and the magical opportunity to explore an area that has been left virtually untouched is an adventure. And being able to completely break away from the usual tourist destinations in Algeria and walk off the beaten track is a chance that should not be passed up.