From Oran, it is hard to miss this stone giant, carved in the hill and perched 400-metre high atop the Aïdour Mount. Built in the 16th century by the Spanish, Fort Santa Cruz was restored by the French three centuries later. It is now a listed national monument and a testimony of Algerian-French-Spanish history.
To explore the premises, you will have to ride a cable car or drive a very steep road. At the top, open your eyes wide to take in a 360° view of Oran's bay, Mers-El-Kebir's bay and the entire city. You can then climb down below and admire the Santa Cruz chapel and its ivory dome, erected during the outbreak of cholera in the late 19th century. Its statue of the Virgin Mary is a replica of Lyon's Notre-Dame de Fourvière. One piece of advice: visit the fort in the early days of your stay, so you can have a better sense of Oran's spread. In the west, Mers-El-Kebir's port and the military buildings, and the Hassan Pacha mosque in the east. Truly breathtaking!
Fort Santa Cruz