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Things to Do in El Aaiún, Western Sahara, Morocco

El Aaiún

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El-Aaiún is a city in the Morocco-controlled part of Western Sahara. The modern city is thought to be founded by the Spanish colonizer Antonio de Oro in 1938. In 1940, Spain designated it as the capital of the Spanish Sahara. El-Aaiún is the capital of the Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra region under Moroccan administration and full military control. The town is divided in two by the dry river of Saguia el Hamra. On the south side is the old lower town, constructed by Spanish colonists. A cathedral from that era is still active; its priests serve this city and at Dakhla further south. Since 1976 the city has been occupied and administered by Morocco, which claims Western Sahara as a part of its territory. The Polisario Front, supported in part by Algeria, has been working for Western Sahara sovereignty as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, and it considers the city its occupied capital.