Kenitra (Moroccan Arabic: قْنيطره, Qniṭra; Arabic: القنيطرة, al-Qonayṭéra, the little bridge) is a city in northern Morocco, formerly (1932–1956) known as Port Lyautey. It is a port on the Sbu river, has a population in 2014 of 431,282, is one of the three main cities of the Rabat-Sale-Quneitra region and the capital of Kenitra Province. During the Cold War Kenitra's U.S. Naval Air Facility served as a stopping point in North Africa.
القنيطرة / Qniṭra
Avenue Mohamed Diouri, Avenue Mohamed V, Kenitra
Location in Morocco
|Coordinates: 34°15′N 6°35′W|
|• Mayor||Aziz Rabbah (PJD) (2009)|
|• Total||672 km2 (259 sq mi)|
|Elevation||26 m (85 ft)|
|• Rank||9th in Morocco|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
Colonial and recent history
In March 1912 the French government and the Sultan of Morocco, Abd al-Hafid, signed the Treaty of Fez. Because of his growing unpopularity, the Sultan asked the French government for protection against the Berber rebel tribes surrounding Fez. France appointed Hubert Lyautey resident-general in Morocco.
General Lyautey restored peace and order to the country after crushing the tribal uprising. After safely moving the Sultan from Fez to the current capital city, Rabat, Lyautey began his task of civilian administration.
One of the first preoccupations of General Lyautey was to build ports along the inhabitable Atlantic coast where there were no natural harbors. He established Kenitra in 1912 as a French military fort and town. The port at Kenitra, at the mouth of the Sebou river, was opened in 1913. It soon became the best river port in Morocco. Kenitra draws its name from a culvert built at Fouarat lake upstream of the kasbah. This culvert was destroyed in 1928. In 1933, the French officially named the locale "Port Lyautey".
It was renamed "Quneitra" in 1956 as Morocco gained its independence. Quneitra has grown rapidly to be a shipping centre for agricultural produce (mainly fruit), fish, timber, and lead and zinc ores. The city’s industrial area lies upstream of the port.
U.S. Naval Base
In November 1942, after Operation Torch, the Americans captured the Port Lyautey French fighter base as a military base, named Craw Field. For three months the 21st Engineer Aviation Regiment worked on the airfield. In Feb. 1943 the Seabees of the 120th Naval Construction Battalion took over all construction activities. The Navy ran the base until 1947, when the State Department negotiated reversion of control to France. In 1950, a $23,000,000 expansion was authorized, but then the Korean War diverted resources. In the 1950s, nearly 10,000 persons were on the base making it the largest aggregation of Americans in any one overseas base outside Japan. Later, the base at Kenitra was expanded to become a U.S. Naval Air Station.
The base was shared by both the USA and Morocco through the Cold War. A small Navy communications out-station at Sidi Yahia closed in the late 1970s. The Air Station was closed in 1991.
|Climate data for Kenitra|
|Average high °C (°F)||17.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||12.3
|Average low °C (°F)||7.2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||97.6
|Average precipitation days||12.3||12.7||12.2||11.0||7.6||2.9||0.3||0.7||2.8||8.6||13.3||14.0||98.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||165.0||170.4||229.8||255.8||296.7||302.9||326.5||312.8||263.8||227.2||174.6||161.4||2,886.9|
Areas and neighborhoods
- The Cigogne
- The cite
- Modern city
- Ville Haute
- Popular districts
- Wuled Oujih
- Maghrib al Arabi
- Residential districts
- Bir Rami
- Val fleury
Primary and secondary schools
Colleges and universities
- Université Ibn-Tofail (UIT)
- ENCG Kénitra (École nationale de commerce et de gestion de Kénitra)
- HECI Kénitra (Hautes Etudes Commerciales et Informatiques)
- ENSA Kénitra (École nationale des sciences appliquées de Kénitra)
- The National Route 1 and the A1 motorway pass through Kenitra and connect it to Rabat-Salé in the south-west and to Larache in the north-east.
- The city is served by one railway station: Kenitra-Ville. A shuttle train, TNR, connects the city, every 30 minutes, to Rabat and Casablanca.
- A high-speed rail line to Tangier is planned to be completed in 2018. (See Kenitra–Tangier high-speed rail line.)
Kenitra Athletic Club, KAC
In 1938, a group of Kenitra natives created KAC.
This group of soccer lovers wanted to resist French domination in sports in Morocco.
The team, made entirely of Kenitra natives, succeeded in reaching the premier Moroccan soccer league in 1956. In 1960, KAC won its first championship league of Morocco. KAC embarked in a journey of glories by winning the 1973-81-82 championship leagues and the 1961 throne cup.
Ahmed Souiri was a long-time manager and coach. KAC has produced many international players.
Bouliahiaoui and Khalifa were among the players who helped the Moroccan national soccer team qualify for the second round of the World Cup finals in Mexico in 1986. Mohammed Boussati still holds a national record of goals by scoring 25 goals in one soccer championship season in 1981-82.
Its home is the Kenitra Municipal Stadium which has a capacity of 15,000 people.
The KAC Kénitra was a very successful basketball team during the 70s and 80s.
Natives from Kenitra
Kenitra was the birthplace of:
- Saïd Aouita, Olympic athlete
- Amina Aït Hammou, Olympic athlete
- Youssef Chippo, International football player
- Margie Cox, American R&B Singer
- Mohamed Sijelmassi, writer and physician
- David Bitan, Israeli politician
- David Charlebois, American Airlines Pilot, First Officer of American Airlines Flight 77.
Notes and references
- "POPULATION LÉGALE DES RÉGIONS, PROVINCES, PRÉFECTURES, MUNICIPALITÉS, ARRONDISSEMENTS ET COMMUNES DU ROYAUME D'APRÈS LES RÉSULTATS DU RGPH 2014" (in Arabic and French). High Commission for Planning, Morocco. 8 April 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
- "Population légale d'après les résultats du RGPH 2014 sur le Bulletin officiel N° 6354". hcp.ma (in Arabic). Retrieved 2015-07-11.
- Kénitra depuis 1912 (in French)
- In Morocco by Edith Wharton, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1920
- Port Lyautey, Chapter XX, The Mediterranean Area, Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, History of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and the Civil Engineer Corp, 1940-1946, Volume II, UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, WASHINGTON, p. 80
- "History of Port Lyautey".
- "Kenitra Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
- "Groupe scolaire Honoré-de-Balzac". AEFE. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
- "Wayback Machine". 6 February 2006. Archived from the original on 6 February 2006.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "Morocco awards Tangier-Kenitra high-speed line contract", railway-technology.com, 8 April 2013.
- "Stade Municipal de Kénitra – StadiumDB.com". stadiumdb.com.
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