The Oriental Region lies in the northeast and borders Algeria and Spanish Melilla. Its capital is Oujda. It has six provinces: Berkane, Figuig, Jerada, Nador, Oujda-Angad, and Taourirt.
The capital of the Oriental Region, Oujda is populated by about half a million people. Just 15 kilometres west of Algeria, it has been somewhat influenced by the neighbouring country and is in fact the birthplace of current Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
French influence is evident in the city, particularly in its architecture. Oujda was once the territory of the Zenata tribe, but their buildings were razed in the 13th century when Sultan Abou Youssef took over and rebuilt the city. In the 1800s-1900s, it was occupied by the French, who were responsible for its wide streets and more modern architecture.
Oujda is known for its delightful nightlife, live traditional music and excellent cuisine more than any historic attractions. It attracts few tourists, being a bit off the beaten track, but it has an airport and the Universite Mohammed Premier, a French and Arabic language university.
Berkane is a coastal province known for its natural beauty. This a popular place for buying investment property, with its many tranquil areas by the coast with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and the vast orange groves. The city of Berkane is a fairly prosperous market town, considered the Moroccan capital of citrus fruits. Orange sellers are a common sight along the main road. This city offers much more breathing space than most northeastern Moroccan cities. It is dominated by typical modern Moroccan homes.
Figuigin eastern Morocco is a Berber town built around an oasis of date palms. The surrounding landscape is wild, consisting of rocky and mountainous country. The situation of the town is somewhat unstable as many of its people prefer to migrate, although its standard of living has gotten better with modernization. The traditional houses are built mostly out of mud and clay, but modern concrete homes with electricity and plumbing are being built, especially in the outskirts of each community. Often a community, or agram, is surrounded by a fortified wall with a door that is shut at night. Its layout is usually maze-like, to make it especially confusing for outsiders. There are seven agrams in Figuig: At-Amar, At-Lamiz, At-Sliman, At-aNaj, At-Addi, Iznayen.
Nador is a province whose economy depends on its many overseas workers, as well as agriculture, light and heavy industrial works, and fishing. Its capital, Nador, is a Mediterranean port city on the Bhar Amezzyan lagoon. It is a centre of fish, fruit, and livestock trade. The Spanish city of Melilla is linked to it by a semi-motorway. Because of its proximity to Melilla as well as to the sea, the city is also heavily involved in international trade. The city’s commercial and business centre is well-developed compared to the most parts of the city. Spanish colonials were partly responsible for its development.
Taourirt is an important province due to its transport links: the main east-west railway from Casablanca to Rabat to Fez in the west to Oujda in the east runs through Taourirt. Many bus lines from Nador also make a stop in the town. A railway line is being built from Taourirt to Nador, expected to be completed by 2011. Taourirt is home to a distinguished ancient kasbah as well.