Sidi Bel Abbes
Sidi Bel-Abbes is capital (2005 pop. 200,000) of the Sidi Bel Abbès wilaya (2005 pop. 590,000), Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

. It is named after a Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 holy man who is buried there. It is the commercial center of an important area of vineyards, market garden
Market garden
A market garden is the relatively small-scale production of fruits, vegetables and flowers as cash crops, frequently sold directly to consumers and restaurants. It is distinguishable from other types of farming by the diversity of crops grown on a small area of land, typically, from under one acre ...

s, orchards, and grain fields. It is surrounded by a wall with four gates and there is a university there. Sidi Bel Abbès is 75 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...


It is well connected to other Algerian cities by roads and railroads. Oran
Oran is a major city on the northwestern Mediterranean coast of Algeria, and the second largest city of the country.It is the capital of the Oran Province . The city has a population of 759,645 , while the metropolitan area has a population of approximately 1,500,000, making it the second largest...

 is 70 kilometers north and Tlemcen
Tlemcen is a town in Northwestern Algeria, and the capital of the province of the same name. It is located inland in the center of a region known for its olive plantations and vineyards...

 is 90 kilometers west of Sidi Bel Abbès. The closest airport is in Oran.


The city, on the Wadi Mékerra River, developed around a French camp built in 1849. From 1931 until 1961, the city was the "holy city" or spiritual home of the French Foreign Legion
French Foreign Legion
The French Foreign Legion is a unique military service wing of the French Army established in 1831. The foreign legion was exclusively created for foreign nationals willing to serve in the French Armed Forces...

, the location of its basic training camp, and the headquarters of its 1st Foreign Regiment
1st Foreign Regiment
The 1st Foreign Regiment is the senior regiment in the French Foreign Legion. Today the regiment is mainly administrative, and provides staff for the Command of the Foreign Legion....


In the 1930s much of the old city walls were demolished. Wide boulevards and squares
Town square
A town square is an open public space commonly found in the heart of a traditional town used for community gatherings. Other names for town square are civic center, city square, urban square, market square, public square, and town green.Most town squares are hardscapes suitable for open markets,...

 replaced the traditional quarters.


The economy centers on agriculture, particularly the production of cereals such as wheat and barley and the grape industry. A farm machine manufacturing complex is located there.

Famous Natives of Sidi Bel Abbès

  • René Raphaël Viviani (November 8, 1863 – September 7, 1925) was a French politician of the Third Republic, who served as Prime Minister for the first year of World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

  • Gaston Maurice Julia (February 3, 1893 – March 19, 1978) Mathematician famous for "Julia Set
    Julia set
    In the context of complex dynamics, a topic of mathematics, the Julia set and the Fatou set are two complementary sets defined from a function...

    " in Chaos Mathematics.
  • Marcel Cerdan
    Marcel Cerdan
    Marcellin "Marcel" Cerdan was a French pied noir world boxing champion who was considered by many boxing experts and fans to be France's greatest boxer, and beyond to be one of the best to have learned his craft in Africa...

     (1916–49): French boxer; known as Le Bombardier Marocain (The Moroccan Bomber).
  • Djillali Liabes
    Djillali Liabes
    The late Professor Djillali Liabes was born in 1948 in Sidi Bel Abbès. He continued his early education in his hometown in Azza Abdelkader's high school where he obtained his Bachelor of Letters series in 1967...

     (1948–93): Famous Algerian Sociologist, philosopher, Dr. status in literature and humanities.
  • Mohammed Bedjaoui
    Mohammed Bedjaoui
    Mohammed Bedjaoui is an Algerian diplomat and jurist. He has served as Algeria's ambassador to France and the United Nations among other places. He has also served as a judge on the International Court of Justice and as President of Algeria's highest judicial authority, the Constitutional Council...

    : (21 September 1929) Foreign minister. Ex Minister of Justice (1964–70), Ambassador to France (1970–79) and Algerian permanent representative to the UN (1979–82). He was a judge on the International Court of Justice
    International Court of Justice
    The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

     at The Hague
    The Hague
    The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

  • Kad Merad
    Kad Merad
    Kad Merad, real name Kaddour Merad, is a French-Algerian actor who has acted both on stage and on screen.-As actor:* 2001: La Grande Vie ! - le motard* 2003: Bloody Christmas - l'homme...

     (1964): actor in Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis
    Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis
    Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis is a 2008 French comedy film starring Kad Merad, Dany Boon and Zoé Félix.The film has broken nearly every box office record in France: it debuted as the top film with US$31.67 million at 793 sites. As of 28 February 2010, the film had been seen by 20.5 million people in...

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