El Aaiún

El Aaiún

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El-Aaiún is a city in Western Sahara
Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to . It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly...

 founded by the Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 in 1928. Administered by Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 since 1976, El-Aaiún is the capital of what the Moroccan government call the region of Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra
Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra
Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is partly located in the disputed territory of Western Sahara. Most of the region is administered by Morocco.The region is made up into the following provinces:...

, and POLISARIO call Occupied Territories. It is also claimed by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is a partially recognised state that claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. SADR was proclaimed by the Polisario Front on February 27, 1976, in Bir Lehlu, Western Sahara. The SADR government controls about...

 as their capital.

The town is divided in two by the water in Sequiat el Hamra. On the south side is the old lower town, constructed by the Spanish. A cathedral from that era is still in operation, with priests dividing their time between this town and Dakhla further south. On higher ground, north of the water, is the new upper town, where most of the military installations are located.

Demographics


The city has a population of 196,331 and is the largest city in Western Sahara. It is a growing economic hub in what Morocco sees as its Southern Provinces
Southern Provinces
The Southern Provinces or Moroccan Sahara are the terms used by Morocco for Western Sahara, in reference to the part of Western Sahara that lies to the west of the Moroccan Berm...

. Its population is a mixture of Moroccans from the North as well as Sahrawis from Southern Saharan Morocco and natives of Western Sahara
Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to . It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly...

 (who make up a fifth of the population).

Etymology


"El Aaiún" is the transliteration of the Arabic name used as the Spanish name for the city. "Laâyoune" is a French transliteration used in Moroccan literature. The Arabic name means "the springs".

Status


The United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 mission for the referendum, turned to simply waiting for a political solution, instead of a referendum which was obsolete after the UN voted for Resolution 1813. MINURSO, which administers the ceasefire settlement of 1991 between Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 and the Polisario Front
Polisario Front
The POLISARIO, Polisario Front, or Frente Polisario, from the Spanish abbreviation of Frente Popular de Liberación de Saguía el Hamra y Río de Oro is a Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement working for the independence of Western Sahara from Morocco...

, has its headquarters in the city.

Climate


El Aaiún has a mild desert climate, moderated by the Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...

 with an average annual temperature of 20°C.

Sport


The football club of the city is Jeunesse Massira
Jeunesse Massira
Jeunesse Sportive d'El Massira is a Moroccan football club based in El Aaiún.The club was founded in 1977....

. The club plays in the Moroccan premier league, the highest football league in the country. Jeunesse Massira
Jeunesse Massira
Jeunesse Sportive d'El Massira is a Moroccan football club based in El Aaiún.The club was founded in 1977....

 uses Mohamed Laghdaf stadium in training and games.

Twin towns - Sister cities



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, Spain Málaga
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External links