A city located in northwestern Algeria with a population of 155,162. It is the capital of a province of the same name. The name of the city is derived from a Berber word, tilmisane, for "springs." The province is known for its agriculture of olives and vineyards. Because of its rich historical record, the city combines a cosmopolitan blend of Berber, Arab, and French cultures. Over the centuries, it has developed leather and textile industries geared toward export. The city is also known for the tomb of the marabout, or mystic, Sidi Bou Médiènne (1126-1197) and the second president of Algeria, Houari Boumédiènne (1932-1978).
   The city has been occupied since prehistoric times, maybe because of its location as a watering hole. It was founded by the Romans in the fourth century as a military outpost in the Berber hinterlands. In the eighth century, Idris I of Fès built a mosque at the site. At the end of the 12th century, the Almoravids established and expanded the city of Tlemcen. Under the Almoravids, it served as a major theological and legal training center. It has several important mosques, such as the "Great Mosque." As the capital of the `Abd al-Wadids in the 13th and 14th centuries, Tlemcen became an important religious center as well as a commercial hub for the region. It also prospered under the Marinids, who built a shrine for Sidi Bou Médiènne, surrounded by a beautiful mosque, a madrasa, and other buildings for the use of pilgrims. The shrine has remained a muchvisited sacred place down to this day. Because of its commercial and religious significance, the city became an object of aggression between the Turks and Spaniards at the beginning of the 16th century. During the Turkish occupation, the city fell into decline. From 1830 to 1833, it came under the control of the `Alawite dynasty. In 1842, the French conquered it, and it became a commune de plein exercise. In 1858, it became an arrondissement capital.
   In 1956, the city was besieged by a section of the Armée de Libération Nationale (ALN) forces, and after the administrative reforms of 1958, it became the capital of a département of the same name. The name of the city was given in 1962 to the "Tlemcen group," or the Ahmed Ben Bella and Houari Boumédiènne faction, which opposed the Governement Provisoire de la République Algérienne (GPRA).

Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . . 2014.

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