Algiers The Capital
The Kasbah is the city’s main tourist attraction, founded on the ruins of a Phoenician commercial outpost. The hillside quarter later blossomed into a small Roman town, stretching down toward the sea. Today, the area is marked by gleaming whitewashed houses that stand like sugar cubes just steps from the sea. These houses gave Algiers its nickname as “La Blanche,” or “the white one,” and the area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. Even with that recognition and the government’s designation of the Kasbah as a protected landmark, the quarter has fallen into disrepair. The narrow streets wind past crumbling courtyards, deteriorating buildings and long-overgrown gardens thick with weeds.
Still, certain areas of the Kasbah manage to survive and even thrive. The area is particularly notable for its high concentration of historic mosques, and the area surrounding them remains quite picturesque. The Ketchaoua Mosque, flanked by two minarets, was built in 1794 and is the best-preserved. Other notable mosques in the area worth a visit include the El Kebir Mosque and the Mosque el Djedid.
Another interesting sight in Algiers is the Martyrs’ Memorial, dedicated to locals killed during the war for independence. The iconic concrete monument consists of three palm-like sections that join in the middle and reach heights of over 300 feet. The stylized palms are topped with a 25-foot tall Islamic-style turret capped by a dome. Under each palm stands a statue of a soldier, and the monument rests on an esplanade that includes an eternal flame, amphitheater and crypt.
Algeria, a gateway between Africa and Europe, has been battered by violence over the past half-century.More than a million Algerians were killed in the fight for independence from France in 1962, and the country is emerging from a brutal internal conflict caused when elections that Islamists appeared certain to win were cancelled in 1992; a low-level Islamist insurgency still affects Algeria.The Sahara desert covers more than four-fifths of the land. Algeria is the continent’s biggest country, and is the world’s 10th largest.Oil and gas reserves were discovered there in the 1950s, but most Algerians live along the northern coast.ALGERIA AS TOURIST
Officially the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a sovereign state in North Africa on the Mediterranean coast. Its capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the country’s far north. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, and the largest in Africa. Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory, Mauritania, and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. The country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 48 provinces and 1,541 communes (counties). Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been President since 1999.
Ancient Algeria has known many empires and dynasties, including ancient Numidians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Umayyads, Abbasids, Idrisid, Aghlabid, Rustamid, Fatimids, Zirid, Hammadids, Almoravids, Almohads, Spaniards, Ottomans and the French colonial empire. Berbers are the indigenous inhabitants of Algeria.
Algeria is a regional and middle power. The North African country supplies large amounts of natural gas to Europe, and energy exports are the backbone of the economy. According to OPEC Algeria has the 16th largest oil reserves in the world and the second largest in Africa, while it has the 9th largest reserves of natural gas. Sonatrach, the national oil company, is the largest company in Africa. Algeria has one of the largest militaries in Africa and the largest defence budget on the continent; most of Algeria’s weapons are imported from Russia, with whom they are a close ally. Algeria is a member of the African Union, the Arab League, OPEC, the United Nations and is a founding member of the Maghreb Union.