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El Aaiún (Arabic: العيون) is the capital and the largest city of the Western Sahara, a territory occupied by Morocco since 1976. The city is located in the north of the country along the Atlantic coastline and has about 200,000 inhabitants. El Aaiún is also claimed by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as their capital. The city is the economic heart of the Western Sahara and has a mix of Moroccan and Sahrwai people, but not of particular interest for travellers. Most travellers are either travelling overland to West Africa or on a brief visit from southern Morocco.
Temperatures in El Aaiún are somewhat tempered and generally are between 25 and 30 degrees Celcius during the day and between 15 and 20 degrees at night. With winds blowing directly east from the Sahara, also El Aaiun gets its fair share of hot days above 40 degrees. Rainfall is sparse and unreliable but usually summers are virtually rainless while most of the rainy days are between November and March, but only a few each month.
Hassan Airport (EUN) near El Aaiún receives most international flights, mainly from Agadir and Casablanca in Morocco (Royal Air Maroc and Regional Airlines) and to and from Las Palmas and several other seasonal flights from cities in Spain. Air Algérie has flights as well.
See also International Telephone Calls
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