town, Mediterranean port, northeastern Algeria, situated on the Gulf of Stora. Founded by French Marshal Sylvain-Charles Valee in 1838 as the port of Constantine, it has an artificial harbour. Skikda occupies the site of ancient Rusicade, port of 4th-century Cirta, and has the largest Roman theatre in Algeria (used as a quarry, this has been greatly depleted). Roman artifacts are in the local museum. The town lies near the mouth of the Wadi Safsaf, escaping the humidity of the alluvial plain by its situation on a saddle between Mount Skikda (east) and Mount Bou Yala (southwest). A natural-gas pipeline from Hassi R'Mel to Skikda became operational in 1970, and liquefied-gas, oil-refining, and petrochemical industries have developed. The port is now a major outlet for oil brought by pipeline from the Hassi Messaoud fields, and it also exports the agricultural and mineral products (lead, iron, marble, and cement) of the Safsaf valley and the hinterland. Imports are redistributed via Constantine throughout eastern Algeria. There is considerable passenger traffic through Skikda, which, with Stora (its outport), is also a centre for sardine fishing and canning. Formerly the population was predominantly of Italian and Maltese origin, but after Algerian independence in 1962 there was an influx of Muslim refugees and an exodus of Europeans. Pop. (1998) 152,335.
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