Musée National Ahmed Zabana


Oran's museum is little-visited by foreigners, but it is one of the keys to understanding the city, although the collection doesn’t always live up to the grandeur of the building. A large 1st-floor room tells the local story of the battle for independence, most moving being the list of local people executed by the French between 1954 and 1962. There are also interesting exhibits of ancient sculptures, some good mosaics and terracotta portraits.

The extensive, neglected natural history collection includes giant lobsters and squid and, in the basement among the stuffed animals, a shark, all caught in the bay. The paintings are more surprising, being a mix of works by 20th-century Algerian artists, French Orientalists including Eugene Fromentin, and some 18th-century studies of mythical subjects.

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