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Skikda (Arabic: سكيكدة ) is a city in north eastern Algeria and a port on the Gulf of Stora, the ancient Sinus Numidicus. It was known as Philippeville until the end of the Algerian War of Independence in 1962. It is the capital of Skikda Province and Skikda District.
The modern city of Skikda was founded in 1838 by the French on the ruins of an ancient Phoenician city which later flourished as a large Roman city called Rusicade, a Punic word which means "Promontory of fire". In the 5th century, the Roman port was destroyed by the Vandals.
On October 10, 1883, there was an earthquake at Philippeville.
Towards the end of World War II, there was a UNRRA refugee camp at Philippeville which was known as Camp Jeanne d'Arc. On January 25, 1945, 200 Jews holding citizenship from countries in North and South America were sent from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp to Switzerland as part of a prisoner exchange group. They were later sent to this UNRRA camp in Philippeville, Algeria (source).
Battle of Philippeville
An attack by the FLN in 1955 during the war of Independence left around 123 civilians dead, mainly French and those suspected of collaboration. Angered over the massacre of civilians, including women, seniors, and babies, the French escalated their offensive against the FLN. Reprisals by French forces may have killed between 1,200 (according to French sources,) or 12,000 (according to the FLN.)
1989 shipping disaster
The city has a commercial harbour with a gas and oil terminal. On 15 February 1989 the Dutch tanker Maassluis was anchored just outside the port, waiting to dock the next day at the terminal, when extreme weather broke out. The ship's anchors didn't hold and the ship smashed on the pier-head of the port. The disaster killed 27 of the 29 people on board.
The city had a population of 152,355 in 1998 (census figures). Natural gas, oil refining, and petrochemical industries were developed in the 1970s and pipelines have been built for their transportation. The city hall (a neo-moorish style palace) and the railroad station were designed by Le Corbusier.
The official city flag colours are blue and white, the colours of the Mediterranean. The current zip code is 21000. Skikda has the third largest commercial port in Algeria after Algiers and Oran. It has also a petrochemical terminal port and a smaller fishing port in Stora, and there are many beaches along the natural Mediterranean coastline. Тhere is also a closed airport near the petrochemical complex.
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