Tlemcen (of the Berber Talamsan , the contracted shape of Catholic student-imsan who means “dried up source”, in Tifinagh: and in Arab: تلمسان) is a city of the North-West of the Algérie, and the chief town of the Wilaya de Tlemcen. Located in the back-country, the city is located in the middle of an area of vines and culture of olive-trees and is considered for its leathers, its tapestries and its textile industry. The Berber, Arab, Turkish influences cultural and Frenchwomen at the time colonial made a high place of tourism of it.
This explanation which closely binds the origin of the name of the city to that of its indisputable Berber past is not only. If Tili- is indeed close to Tala which means “source”, oral tradition affirms that name is Arab; it would be the contraction of two words Tlem and Insan , that is to say Tlem' san (Tlemcen in modern orthography), meaning meeting place (regrouping) people. The name would have been given to the city because precisely of its central position along the lanes of the goods and the migratory flux between the east and the west, as well as north and the south. Information on the origin of the name of the city which was a kingdom in the Maghreb comes from the oral tradition, dominant during very a long time. It is strange that no text supported neither one nor the other of the assumptions, whereas Tlemcen sheltered one of the most famous colleges Medersa (there was several actually), powerful lever of the introduction of the written historical proof.
The town of Tlemcen, Pomaria (“orchards”), is founded at the end of the 2nd century like military camp at the border of the Roman empire. The city plays a religious part since it becomes the seat of a catholic diocese: the Victor bishop who sits there played a big role with the Concile of Carthage of 411.
Tlemcen was on several occasions of its history, the capital of the central Maghreb. At the end of the 8th century and the 9th century, the city becomes one of the strongholds of the Kharidjisme in North Africa. In 771, Abou Qurra of the Sufrite tribe of the Banou Ifren of Tlemcen managed to take again with Arabic all the Ifriqiya. At the 11th century (1080), Tlemcen became after Marrakech, the second capital of the Almoravides, which included the current Morocco and part of Western Algeria. At the 11th century, under the Almohades, Tlemcen is a shopping mall of foreground and the capital of the central Maghreb. The kingdom of Tlemcen, founded in 1282 knows a destiny out of the commun run. This kingdom is directed by the dynasty of the Abdalwadides. With its apogee, this State controls an active territory of the Atlas to current the Tunisia at the 15th century. Of the three capitals of the dynasties which reigned in the Maghreb (Fès, Tlemcen and Tunis), Tlemcen was the city best organized. It attracted the scientists and the artists of any share. This city was also a center of Moslem studies. One counted five Médersa S famous. Tlemceniens admired Sidi Wahhab, which was the companion of the prophet and who, come following Oqba had been buried in the city, Sidi Daoudi, the great saint of the 10th century.
In 1553, the collapse of the 3 dynasties of the Maghreb (Mérinides, Abdalwadides, Hafsides) gives birth - considering the disappearance of any central authority - in Algérie in particular, with a multitude of city-kingdoms: kingdom of Ténès, kingdom of Algiers, kingdom of Cherchell. At the same time with this dismemberment, the attacks on the cities of the littoral, carried out by the Spaniards, sow the fear and the desolation at the populations of then which make call like the emir of Algiers with the famous corsairs Aroudj and Khair-Eddine Barberousse to ensure their defense, the kingdom of Tlemcen passes then under Othoman protection. This transition which proceeded during the anguish of the dynasty of Abdalwadides is not made easily. Indeed, very quickly conflicts appear; Aaroudj carries out the emir of Algiers in his bath and pursues its faithful, that it continues until Tlemcen. But the Sultan of Tlemcen, combined to the Spanish governor of Oran, emerges with his troops, drives out Aroudj de Tlemcen and ends up killing it. A third brother of Aroudj, Ishaq, took a weak share with the foundation of the Regency of Algiers; appointed king de Ténès with residence with El Kalaâ, he was assassinated in 1518 at the time when he left the capital which he had just delivered in consequence of a capitulation to the Spanish army ordered by Dom Martin d' Argote which had brought with him the Moslem quotas remained faithful to Abou Hammou, Sultan of Tlemcen. Khizr, brother of Aaroudj, took his succession in Algiers and were made call “Khayr ED-DIN” (“the Good of the Religion”). Appointed Captain pasha (Lord High Admiral) of the Turkish fleet and Beylerbey (governor) of the islands, it was shown more careful than his brother, and directed since his capital its armies.
More cosmopolitan (Andalusians and Turkish) and open from its history that Algiers and Oran, Tlemcen knows like the other cities of Algeria a relative social peace at the time of the “French Algérie”.
Monograph of the city
“The city of the Knowledge, refinement and the good mannerss. ”, Yahia Ibn Khaldoun. “Algeria does not have, strictly speaking, of townsmen, except in Tlemcen. ”, E. - F. Gautier, obscure centuries of the Maghreb .
Located at the crossroads of the roads which led Morocco to the Algérie and the Mediterranean with the the Sahara, Tlemcen had a cultural and commercial role considerable. In 1248, it formed a kingdom Berbère, independent of the empire of the Almohades and became the capital of the kingdom abdelwadide which extended to the 14th century with most of current Algeria. Tlemcen which, already at the 12th century was a religious center, became a hearth of Islamic culture then very important and radiant on all Maghreb, competing with Fès, Grenade, Tunis and Damas. To the 16th century and during one short duration, it passed under the sovereignty of the Spanish governor of Oran then, under the domination of Arudj Barberousse which was made prisoner with Tlemcen in 1518, and was killed. And finally of the Turks in 1553.
This capital mystic of the Oranian West was regarded a long time as the “Jerusalem of the Maghreb” because the Moslems and the Jews kept their holy places there. Djéma el Kébir, the Large Mosque, built at the 11th century, admirably decorated by craftsmen tlemceniens and Cordovans, modern of lines is a pure jewel of the architecture of the Maghreb. The mosque of Sidi Boumediene which was built at the 14th century by a sultan of Fès, the “black sultan”, of pure style hispano-Moorish, as in Fès or Grenade. The minaret is decorated polychrome bricks and ceramics. But the owner of the city has initially was Sidi Halaoui and whose marabout is hidden in the luxuriant gardens of Agadir (Moslem city built on the site of the Roman Pomaria and from which there remain only vestiges close which Tlemcen is, nothing commun run with the Moroccan port), where the sterile women go, nowadays still, drinking the water of its well, seven Wednesdays of continuation, after having deposited their belt in Koubba de Lalla Setti. If the Arab presence, carrying the Islamic faith and Eastern civilization to the Berber populations autochtones, goes back only to the 8th century, the origin of the Jewish communities in North Africa was noted more than ten centuries before Jesus-Christ, and their colonies were already numerous under the Roman occupation, initially on the littoral then in the interior of the country. A long time, the Jews did not have the right to reside inside the walls of the City. It is only in 1393, thanks to the merits of the rabbi Ephraïm Enkaoua, whom they were authorized to cross the ramparts. They lived there in isolation, in the mellah (“ghetto”) until the arrival of the French, but they always remained attached to the Arab language.
Of all the cities of the Oranian West, Tlemcen is that which was penetrated by Spanish immigration. The limit of this Iberian exodus of the middle of the 19th century seems to have been the area of El-Malah (Rio salado), Sidi-Beautiful-Abbots and To have blessed-Saf. However, the Andalusian influence, in Tlemcen, goes back to the 12th century, when the reconquest directed and completed by the catholic kings made ebb on the North Africa the Moros (Moors) which are at the origin of these Andalusian communities that one finds of Fès with Bizerte and which kept, with the keys of their given up houses with Cordoue, Grenade or with Malaga, their musical and poetic folklore. Tlemcen is permanently related to Moslem Spain by cultural exchanges, and while bringing a military aid to him against the Reconquista Chrétienne. Many Sultans of Tlemcen were high in the courses of Andalusia, like Abou Tachfin, Sultan Abdalwadide raised at the court Nasride of Grenade. Moreover Boabdil, last Sultan of Grenade, will die in the month of May 1494 nearly two years after the fall of Grenade. It was hardly 40 years old. His/her mother will die one year front with Tlemcen which accommodated all the entourage of Boabdil, his Meriem wife (the sultana Moriama) and her sisters called the “queens Moors”. In the new “African Grenade” a very strong colony of Andalusians will find there the peace of which many Jews fleeing the enquiry of the kings catholic during the reconquista and front, since also the fall of Cordoue in 1232. With these exoduses, it is part of the Andalusian memory which also will emigrate in this city. It will be with Fès, the heiress city of Andalusia of her art of living, of its philosophical and artistic legacies.
Tlemcen is the capital of the arabo-Andalusian music in Algeria. It is the cradle large artists of this musical genre. Two old music schools arabo-Andalusian exist in Algeria. That of Tlemcen and Constantine. The school of Algiers was founded only tardily under the influence of the school of Tlemcen. Tlemcen is also the cradle and the capital of Hawzi, another musival kind which rises from the Andalusian music and which was spread in the Maghreb especially thanks to the large poet musician BenMessaîb (XVIIe S). There is, on the road of Morocco, the imposing ruins of Mansoura the Victorious one, this provisional red brick metropolis that Abou Yacoub, known as El - Mansour (the victorious one), built with range of arrow of the capital of the central Maghreb which it wanted to conquer and who became, after the catch of Tlemcen by the Moroccan sultan Abou Hassen, and for very a short duration, the seat of the government mérinide for the central Maghreb. The very cold, snow-covered winter because of altitude (more than 800 m) but sunny one early spring succeeded which made hatch, as of February, the flowers of cherry trees and the pêchers. It is then celebrates it festival of the cherries which brought to Tlemcen of tens of thousands of visitors.
Sites and monuments: approximately 45 natural and historical sites classified, Honaine, mosques almoravides of Tlemcen and Nédroma, Sidi Boumediene, medersa of El-Eubbad, mosque of Sidi Belkacem, mosque of Sidi Halloui, Méchouar, villages of Tlata and Zahra, the mosque of Blessed-Snous etc
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