Last updated

بجاية / Bgayet
DZ 06 Bejaia.svg
Location of Béjaïa, Algeria within Béjaïa Province
Algeria location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location in Algeria
Coordinates: 36°45′04″N05°03′51″E / 36.75111°N 5.06417°E / 36.75111; 5.06417 Coordinates: 36°45′04″N05°03′51″E / 36.75111°N 5.06417°E / 36.75111; 5.06417
Country Flag of Algeria.svg  Algeria
Province Bejaia Province
District Béjaïa District
  Total120.22 km2 (46.42 sq mi)
949 m (3,114 ft)
 (2008 census)
  Density1,500/km2 (3,800/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
Postal code
Climate Csa

Béjaïa ( /bɪˈdʒə/ ; Arabic : بِجَايَة, Bijayah; Kabyle : Bgayet, Vgayet), formerly Bougie and Bugia, is a Mediterranean port city on the Gulf of Béjaïa in Algeria; it is the capital of Béjaïa Province, Kabylia. Béjaïa is the largest principally Kabyle-speaking city in the Kabylia region of Algeria.



Monkey Peak (Pic des singes). Pic des singes.jpg
Monkey Peak ( Pic des singes ).

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". [1]


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. Western-mediterranean-rome-hadrian.jpg
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. [2]

Béjaïa stands on the site of the ancient city of Saldae, a minor port in Carthaginian and Roman times, in an area at first inhabited by Numidian Berbers and founded as a colony for old soldiers by emperor Augustus. It was an important town and a bishopric in the province of Mauretania Caesariensis, and later Sitifensis.

Coin of the Hafsids, with ornamental Kufic script, from Bejaia, 1249-1276. Hafsids Bougie Algeria 1249 1276 ornemental Kufic.JPG
Coin of the Hafsids, with ornamental Kufic script, from Béjaïa, 1249–1276.

In the fifth century, Saldae became the capital of the short-lived Vandal Kingdom of the Germanic Vandals, which ended in about 533 with the Byzantine conquest, which established an African prefecture and later the Exarchate of Carthage.

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 Bejaia by Piri Reis Algiers and Bejaia by Piri Reis.jpg
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. [3] 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 . [4]

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 (or Khans) 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. [2]

In 1315, Ramon Llull was stoned at Béjaïa, [5] [6] where, a few years before, Peter Armengaudius (Peter Armengol) is reputed to have been hanged. [6] [7]

After a Spanish occupation (1510–55), the city was taken by the Ottoman Turks in the Capture of Béjaïa in 1555. For nearly three centuries, Béjaïa was a stronghold of the Barbary pirates (see Barbary States). The city consisted of Arabic-speaking Moors, Moriscos and Jews 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.

Battle of Béjaïa

During World War II, Operation Torch landed forces in North Africa, including a battalion of the British Royal West Kent Regiment at Béjaïa on 11 November 1942.

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 and Cathay 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. [8]

Algerian republic

After Algerian independence, it became the eponymous capital of Béjaïa Province, covering part of the eastern Berber region Kabylia.

Ecclesiastical history

With the spread of Christianity, Saldae became a bishopric. Its bishop Paschasius was one of the Catholic bishops whom the Arian Vandal king Huneric summoned to Carthage in 484 and then exiled.

Christianity survived the Islamic 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. [5] [6] [9]

No longer a residential bishopric, Saldae (v.) is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see. [10] 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 :


Béjaïa, like most cities along the coast of Algeria, has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa), with very warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters.

Climate data for Béjaïa
Record high °C (°F)27.7
Average high °C (°F)16.4
Daily mean °C (°F)12.1
Average low °C (°F)7.7
Record low °C (°F)−1.0
Average precipitation mm (inches)99.7
Average relative humidity (%)78.577.677.977.979.976.975.074.676.476.375.376.076.9
Source 1: NOAA (1968-1990) [11]
Source 2: climatebase.ru (extremes, humidity) [12]


Cape Carbon Lighthouse
Phare du Cap Carbon.jpg
Cap Carbon Lighthouse in 2013
LocationCap Carbon, Béjaïa Province, Algeria OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Coordinates 36°46′31″N5°06′11″E / 36.77514°N 5.10306°E / 36.77514; 5.10306
Constructed1906  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Constructionstone (tower)  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Height14.6 m (48 ft)  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Shapecylindrical tower with balcony and lantern rising from the keeper’s house [13] [14] [15]
Markingswhite (tower), black (roof)  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
OperatorNational Maritime Signaling Office  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Focal height220 m (720 ft)  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Range28 nmi (52 km; 32 mi)  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Characteristic Fl(3) W 20s  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

The population of the city in 2008 in the latest census was 177,988.

Historical populations [16]


Maritime front of Bejaia: a view of its industrial facilities and the airport. Aeroport, terminal container, usine Cevital a Bejaia 2.jpg
Maritime front of Béjaïa: a view of its industrial facilities and the airport.

The northern terminus of the Hassi Messaoud oil pipeline from the Sahara, Béjaïa is the principal oil port of the Western Mediterranean. Exports, aside from crude petroleum, include iron, phosphates, wines, dried figs, and plums. The city also has textile and cork industries.[ citation needed ]

The Béni Mansour-Bejaïa line railroad terminates in Béjaïa. The airport of the city is Abane Ramdane Airport.

Cevital has its head office in the city. [17]

The city's soccer team is JSM Béjaïa and currently plays in the Algerian Ligue Professionnelle 2.

Twin towns – sister cities

Béjaïa has an official friendly relationship with:

See also

Related people

Related Research Articles

Hippo Regius Ancient name for the modern city of Annaba, Algeria

Hippo Regius is the ancient name of the modern city of Annaba, Algeria. It historically served as an important city for the Phoenicians, Berbers, Romans, and Vandals. Hippo was the capital city of the Vandal Kingdom from 435 to 439 AD until it was shifted to Carthage following the Vandal Capture of Carthage (439).

Kabylia Region of northern Algeria inhabited by Kabyle people

Kabylia is a cultural, natural and historical region in northern Algeria and the homeland of the Kabyle people. It is part of the Tell Atlas mountain range and is located at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea.

Hammadid dynasty Berber dynasty in north Africa

The Hammadid dynasty or Kingdom of Hammadid was a branch of the Sanhaja Berber dynasty that ruled an area roughly corresponding to north-eastern modern Algeria between 1008 and 1152. Its realm was conquered by the Almohad Empire.

Béjaïa Province Province of Algeria

The Béjaïa province is a province of Algeria in the Kabylie region. The province's capital city is Béjaïa, the terminus of the Béni Mansour-Bejaïa line.

Cherchell Town in Tipaza, Algeria

Cherchell is a town on Algeria's Mediterranean coast, 89 kilometers (55 mi) west of Algiers. It is the seat of Cherchell District in Tipaza Province. Under the names Iol and Caesarea, it was formerly a Roman colony and the capital of the kingdoms of Numidia and Mauretania.

Petite Kabylie Natural region in Algeria

Petite Kabylie or Petite Kabylia is a natural region in the mountainous area of northern Algeria. The Petite Kabylie is part of the greater Kabylie region.

Bugia may refer to:


Saldae was an important port city in the ancient Roman Empire, located at today's Béjaïa. It was generally a crossroads between eastern and western segments of Northern Africa, from the time of Carthage to the end of the Byzantine Empire from the continent.

Chlef City in Algeria

Chlef is the capital of Chlef Province, Algeria. Located in the north of Algeria, 200 kilometres (120 mi) west of the capital, Algiers, it was founded in 1843, as Orléansville, on the ruins of Roman Castellum Tingitanum. In 1962, it was renamed al-Asnam, but since 1980 it has borne its present name, Chlef, which is derived from the name of the longest river in Algeria.

Kabyle people Ethnic group

The Kabyle people are a Berber ethnic group indigenous to Kabylia in the north of Algeria, spread across the Atlas Mountains, one hundred miles east of Algiers. They represent the largest Berber-speaking population of Algeria and the second largest in North Africa.

Gouraya National Park

The national park of Gouraya is one of the coastal national parks of Algeria. It is located in Béjaïa Province, near the shrine of Sidi Touati.

Aokas City in Béjaïa, Algeria

Aokas is a coastal city and district in the Béjaïa Province in northern Algeria and is located at about 25 kilometres from the province's capital city of Bgayet. The commune of Aokas was created by decree of October 2, 1869. It covered an area of 2,202 hectares and had a population of 2,245 inhabitants in 1931. Its name in berber means shark. Its average altitude is 300 meters.


Icosium was a Berber city that was part of Numidia which became an important Roman colony: in Icosium were settled many Roman colonists since Augustus times and there was an early medieval bishopric in what is now the casbah area of actual Algiers.

El Kseur Place in Béjaïa, Algeria

El Kseur is a town in northern Algeria. The Béni Mansour-Bejaïa line serves this community with SNTF rail service.

Djinet Commune and town in Boumerdès, Algeria

Djinet, the classical Cissi, is a port town and commune in the Bordj Menaïel District of Boumerdès Province, Algeria, east of the mouth of the Isser River and around Cape Djinet. As of 2008, the population of the municipality is 21,966.

Honaine Commune and town in Tlemcen Province, Algeria

Honaine is a town and commune in Tlemcen Province in northwestern Algeria.


Cartennae or Cartenna was an ancient Berber, Carthaginian, and Roman port at present-day Ténès, Algeria. Under the Romans, it was part of the province of Mauretania Caesariensis.


Sétifis, was a town of in Roman in northeastern Algeria. It was the capital of the Roman era province called Mauretania Sitifensis, and it is today Setif in the Sétif Province (Algeria).


Gunugus or Gunugu was a Berber and Carthaginian town in northwest Africa in antiquity. It passed into Roman control during the Punic Wars and was the site of a colony of veteran soldiers. It survived the Vandals and Byzantines but was destroyed during the Muslim invasion of the area.

Capture of Béjaïa (1510)

The capture of Béjaïa was the battle in which the Spanish Empire took possession of Béjaïa, then an emirate ruled by a branch of the Hafsid dynasty. This took place in 1510. The Spanish lost the city again 45 years later to Salah Rais and the Kingdom of Kuku in the Capture of Bougie (1555).


  1. "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 waxAvailable online to subscribers
  2. 1 2 Bejaia - Algeria, Muslimheritage.com
  3. Stephen Ramsay, Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism, (University of Illinois Press, 2011), 64.
  4. Scott, T.C.; Marketos, P. (March 2014), On the Origin of the Fibonacci Sequence (PDF), MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews
  5. 1 2 Stefano Antonio Morcelli, Africa christiana, Volume I, Brescia 1816, p. 269
  6. 1 2 3 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
  7. "J. Frank Henderson, "Moslems and the Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar. Documentation" (2003), p. 18" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  8. Atkinson 2002.
  9. J. Mesnage, L'Afrique chrétienne, Paris 1912, pp. 8 e 268-269
  10. Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN   978-88-209-9070-1), p. 963
  11. "Climate Normals for Béjaïa" . Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  12. "Béjaïa, Algeria". Climatebase.ru. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  13. "Cap Carbon". Office Nationale de Signalisation Maritime. Ministere des Travaux Publics. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  14. 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.
  15. Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Eastern Algeria". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill . Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  16. populstat.info Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  17. "Cevital & vous Archived 12 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine ." Cevital. Retrieved on 26 August 2011. "Adresse : Nouveau Qaui Port de -Béjaïa - Algérie"