Presentation of Algeria

Algeria (Arabic: الجزائر Tamazight:Dzayer), officially the Democratic and popular Algerian Republic, is a State of North Africa which is a part of the Maghreb. It is the biggest country lining the Mediterranean Sea and the vaster first one of Africa. it shares ground borders in the northeast with Tunisia, in the East with Libya, in the South with Niger and Mali, in the southwest with Mauritania and territory of the Western Sahara, and on the West with Morocco.         

Algeria is a member of the United Nations (UN), of the African Union (AU) and the League of Arab States almost since independence in 1962. It joined the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1969. In February 1989, Algeria took part, along with the other Maghreb states, in the creation of the organization of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU). The Algerian Constitution defines "Islam, Arabity and Amazighness" as "fundamental components" of the identity of the Algerian people and the country as "land of Islam, an integral part of the Greater Maghreb, Mediterranean and African".

  • Area : 2 381 741 km².
  • Population :42.2 million inhabitants (estimate January 2018).
  • Density : 18people / Km².
  • Capitale : Algiers.
  • Languages : Arabic (official language), and Berber.
  • Religion :Sunni Islam.
  • Currency :Algerian dinar.
  • Currency : Democratic and popular republic.
  • Chef of the State : abdelmadjid tebboune.
  • Demography : almost half of the population under 30 years old
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites : Kalâa des Béni Hammad (1980); Djemila (1982); Tassili n'Ajjer (1982); Timgad (1982); Tipasa (1982); the M'Zab Valley (1982); the Kasbah of Algiers (1992)..

Geography

The relief of Algeria consists of three large groups: Tell in the North, the highlands and the Saharan Atlas in the center, and the Sahara in the South.

The Tell :  

Is a narrow coastal strip 1200 km long and 100 to 200 km wide. It is bounded on the south by a mountain range, more or less parallel to the coast, and which extends from the Tlemcen region to the west, to the Tunisian border to the east. It is made up of fertile plains (like the one of Mitidja south of Algiers) where the majority of the Algerian population, valleys and a succession of mountains (the Tellian Atlas) are concentrated, which regularly exceed 2,000 m. in the East, especially in Kabylie where the peaks of the Djurdjura massif are covered with snow in winter.

The highlands and the Saharan Atlas

a set of semi-arid plains and highlands running diagonally from the Moroccan border to north-eastern Algeria. Summers are heavy and dry and winters are very cold and humid. The ground is dug by many depressions, the chotts, which turn into salt lakes after the rainy season. The vegetation is quite poor and sparse. It is limited to tufts of grass (very useful for flocks of sheep), as well as alfa, a graminaceous plant that is used to make ropes, baskets, carpets, etc.

These steppes are delimited in the South by a mountainous barrier (the Saharan Atlas) which is in fact only the extension in Algeria of the Moroccan High Atlas. From west to east follow the mountains of Ksour, Ouled-Naïl, Zibans and Aurès which culminate at more than 2,300 m. at the bottom of these mountains are a string of oases that mark the threshold of the Sahara: Biskra Boussaâda Laghouat, or Ghardaïa, further south, in the M'zab Valley.

The Sahara

It covers about 85% of the Algerian territory (2,000 km from East to West, 1,500 km from North to South). The Great South of Algeria alternates between volcanic landscapes (Hoggar massif) and lunar (Tassili N'Ajjer), plains of stones and (the Regs) and sandy plains (the Ergs) from which sometimes emerge beautiful oases.

the fauna

In the countryside and the mountains in the north of the country, we meet sheep, monkeys magots in the gorges of Chiffa (south of Algiers), goats, horses, hares, foxes and even wild boars. Looking up to the sky, we can see the ball of migratory birds that move south in the winter (starlings, storks, etc.). Further south, we meet gazelles, fennecs, some striped hyenas, small desert rodents (gerboises, gerbils ...), some scorpions and of course camels. Lions, ostriches and other crocodiles have left the country for more than a century.

The flora

The vegetation is Mediterranean in the north of the country. The forest (cork oaks, carob trees, pines ...) and the maquis dominate all along the coast and on the flanks of the Tellien Atlas and different kinds of flowers and plants grow in gardens and orchards (jasmine, rose, geranium, rosemary ...). Apart from alfa, very few plants grow on the highlands in the center of the country. In the oases of the Sahara, ingenious irrigation systems allow peasants to cultivate, apart from date palms, all kinds of fruits and vegetables in their plantations.

The climate

The climate is of Mediterranean type on all the northern fringe which includes the Littoral and Tell Atlas (hot and dry summers, wet and cool winters), semi-arid on the highlands in the center of the country, and desert as soon as one crosses the chain of the Saharan Atlas. The temperature differences in the same day can be considerable, this is the case in the Sahara where the mercury can oscillate from one extreme to the other in the space of only a few hours (beyond 40 ° C the day, below 5 ° C at night!).

In the discovery of Algeria

The coastline

The Algerian coastline is 1,200 kilometers of sandy beaches bordered by a turquoise sea. Grouping all the major cities on its territory, abounding with magnificent natural sites, the region is today one of the most touristic of the country. From Algiers the white to Oran the radiant, via Annaba and the wild creeks of Kabylie, the coastline make certainly the happiness of hikers, swimmers, and lovers of fishing and water sports. The tourist activity of this part of Algeria does not prevent the preservation of the marine fauna and flora. A true place of relaxation, the Algerian coast is also a place rich in history, the seaside being dotted with several archaeological sites of the ancient or Ottoman era.

The center

Nicknamed "El Bahdja" (the joyful) or Algiers the White, the capital is now the first agglomeration of the Maghreb. Founded in the year 960 on the ruins of the ancient Roman city Icosium by Bologhine Ibn Ziri, the old Ottoman city stretches for about thirty kilometers. It is bordered to the north and east by the Mediterranean Sea forming the famous bay of Algiers, and dominated by the Kasbah - the old Muslim city. The many foreign influences (Roman, Turkish and French) have shaped the region of Algiers, making it a cosmopolitan region open to the world.
From the mythical Kasbah to the traditional bouqalettes, through its gastronomy, the city of Mohamed Racim has taken advantage of its important cultural heritage. A few kilometers away is Tipaza the ancient Roman city and its incredible ancient museum, and further afield there is the Kabylie and its craggy coves that are definitely worth a visit. From Jijel to Bejaia, through Tizi Ouzou, everything here invites you to relax.

The East

The Constantine coast’s is certainly less recognized than that of the West, with an atypical charm. Nicknamed the "city of suspension bridges", Constantine (ancient Cirta) is built on a rock overlooking deep gorges at the bottom of which flows the river Rhummel, for lack of the sea.
It was founded by Emperor Constantine I who gave it his name. City of the Mufuf, the famous Arab-Andalusian music, Constantine is a very important cultural and university center. Monuments like the great mosque of Emir Abdelkader or the Bey Palace bear witness to the architectural wealth of the city. However the real important city of the Constantine coast is Annaba, the old Bône. It is one of the cities that has the most beautiful coast of Algeria. Built on the ruins of the ancient city known as Hippone, the city is now the fourth largest city in the country. The main point of interest of the city, besides the ancient ruins, is the Basilica of St. Augustine, erected in memory of this priest born in Algeria in 354 BC. J-C, who gave his nobility to the city of Hippone. The other important town on the coast is Skikda, the city of strawberries. Formerly known as Philippeville, as a tribute to King Louis-Philippe, the city of Skikda was a small commercial port that has grown considerably today.

The west

Beautiful beaches and large ports, here is what summarizes the Oranie. Nicknamed "El Bahia" (the radiant), Oran is the second largest city in the country. Its coast is dotted with beaches some of which are among the wildest in the Mediterranean. The agglomeration now has nearly two million inhabitants. Coming from a turbulent colonial past (Spanish, Turkish and French), the region knew how to form its own identity. It is now recognized for its impressive cultural heritage, including raï. This style of music, rebellious as sensual, has become the ambassador of the city around the world.
The second city of Oranie, Tlemcen, situated in 800 m of height, is the only city of Algeria to being able to boast to possess Moresque buildings of the quality of those of Andalusia. Nowadays, the one that we call "the city of cherries" is a place convenient to the relaxation and of the most pleasant to visit.
Mostaganem kept, as for it, a old character, but also opened in a modern economy. For proof, it is enough to surrender to the new district of Tijdit, where the beautiful beaches surroundings allow to take advantage of the sun.

The Oasis

No oasis is similar to an other one, they are maintained with a big art and an exceptional science at the threshold of the Algerian desert. Oases are colored and paradisiac spaces which make wonder all the visitors … They are the islands of the desert, where wadis dig a furrow of happiness, Palm trees draw up themselves staying up the prosperity of his inhabitants.
The Algerian oases are impressive and mythical. It is the profit of a distinctive agricultural and architectural know-how. Among these oases, Bou Saada " the estate of the Happiness ", Biskra, " the queen of the Zibans ", El Oued, the " city in thousand domes ", Touggourt, the region of dunes (the North of the Big oriental erg), Ouargla, the immense oasis the palm grove of which counts more than a million date palms, Ghardaïa, the city in pyramidal shape (Established in 1053) and Laghouat the authentic door of the desert (400 km from the capital Algiers). Result of certain know-how and exceptional science of the irrigation, the Algerian oases are the most beautiful of the world. It is the cool and crystal clear water which springs from bowels of the Earth, and which the ingenious hands of the Algerian farmers lead to the surface to transform the desert of sand into a paradisiac landscape. Several big cities are considered as their oases. It is in particular the case of Tolga, that is the most important oasis of Zibans. The city owes its fame to the quality of its dates, the "DegletNour" (the fingers of light). However, the most famous palm grove of the country remains unquestionably that of Taghit, real jewel of the desert.

The M'zab

Situated in the center of Algeria, The M'zab is a rocky tray the height of which varies between 300 and 800 meters. It is a set of five oases, which groups five ksours ( strengthened villages): Ghardaïa - Melika-Beni-Isguen - Bounoura and El-Atteuf; and two isolated oases further north: Berriane and Guerrara.
In, its foot, houses, in the tiny windows and low doors (to protect itself from the wind of sand and from the heat) hang on the some to the others and the narrow alleys form a real labyrinth. Every city is protected by ramparts and doors which allow the access. Palm groves are inseparable of these cities because they shelter the summer residences which welcome the population during the big hot season. Gardens are there luxuriant and plentiful fruits thanks to the ancestral system of irrigation. The valley of Mzab been a part of the world heritage and was represented in paint by numerous Orientalist painters.

The desert

Sahara, desert situated in the North of Africa, extends over ten countries (from Morocco to Mauritania, including Sudan and Niger), however it is on the Algerian territory that it occupies most surface. The term Sahara is of Arabic origin (As-Sahara) which means desert or steppe. Thus it is the pleonasm that to say the "desert of Sahara".
It is a hot and dry desert: in summer, it is more than 50 degrees during the day; in winter, he can be 5 degrees at high altitude. Previously, Sahara was swampy. Place setting of steppe and savanna, its fauna was very rich. Today there are only fossils lost in the sand and the rock paintings left by our ancestors in caves. It is a place where the time seems not to have grip anymore on the life so much dunes, changing according to the wind, are short-lived and the unchanging and eternal rocks. The silence is master of a kingdom where the beauty of the landscapes of the rise and the sunset, taking colors seen nowhere else, takes the breath away of the spectator.

The Big Erg

Ergs are big massifs of dunes which occupy approximately 20 % of the surface of Sahara. They evolve according to prevailing wind. Weather conditions are extremely severe there. The rare tracks of vegetation concentrate in small oases situated in the perimeter of the desert. Among the biggest, we find in the North that of El Oued. However it is in the Big western Erg that we find the gardens of Saoura. Of the name of the oued which crosses it, the valley of Saoura is really one of the most attractive regions of the Algerian South.
Gourara is a region of Algeria formed of a set of oasis. Encircled by the Big Western Erg (in the North), Touat and Saoura (on the West) and plateau of Tadmaït (in the South and in the East), an immense flat and rocky area which separates it from Tidikelt ( Aïn Salah). Just like Touat ( Adrar) and Tidikelt, this region uses the system of irrigation of Foggaras (system of captation of waters of infiltrations). The Big Erg, it is also Beni Abbès, Guirzim, Kerzaz, Timoudi, the oases of Gourara and the closeness of the cities of Laghouat, Ghardaïa and Béchar. This apparently impassable barrier was always crossed by the caravans which make the connection between oases spread in the waves of sand. The main cities, lining the Big Western Erg, are El Meniaa (so called El Goléa), Timimoun ( Gourara) and Adrar ( Touat).

Tassili

This mountain massif of a surface of about 120 000 km evokes by far the ruins of an antique city. Classified UNESCO world heritage in 1982 and reserve of the man and the biosphere in 1986, the park possesses one of main sets rupestral works to the world, including more than 15 000 drawings and engravings.
It is considered, to date, as being the biggest open-air museum of the world. His main city is Djanet. This city, real pearl of Tassili, deserves well its name which means Paradise. His white constructions in the blue doors, lining streets raised by dark blue and golden streetlights, are a real invitation in the rest. its magnificent palm grove dominated by impressive mountains is worth seeing to her alone.

Hoggar

Classified UNESCO world heritage in 1987, the volcanic massif of Hoggar, which exists since more than three billion years, is an immense geological formation. He presents a landscape of the most fascinating with his hardened waves of lava colors of which go of yellow blazing in purple black. The climate is very hot there in summer, and it can freeze there at winter nights. It is there less extreme all the same that the rest of Sahara, and the Hoggar is de facto an important refuge for certain animal and vegetable species. It is also the territory of the Tuareg, these blue men so welcoming with the foreigners. The staggering beauty of this volcanic relief, invites in the mediation following the example of father Charles of Foucauld, a Christian priest who lived in hermit in the middle of Hoggar.

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 Algeria was formerly a strategic crossroads and a part of the country for the various civilizations which conquered her and which did not, at the same time, omit to put their imprints on the territory. Indeed, these peoples invaded Algeria and brought their traditions and thought, so influencing the art in particular the architecture. Today still, several Algerian cities keep the tracks of the old Punic cities, numides or Roman. Because actually, the history of Algeria before the Roman conquest is long, and nevertheless often underestimated. The numerous vestiges of the period numide, still perfectly kept today, prove that Algeria played an important role in the Mediterranean history. Numerous Algerian cities still carry the tracks of it prestigious inheritance: among sites collecting most vestiges we find cities as Tipaza, Cherchell, Djemila, Ténès or still Timgad. It should be noted that the antique vestiges concentrate mainly on the coastal band and the North of the country. In the South, the tracks of the previous generations go back up in farther. We so find several rock paintings dating the period of the Neolithic redrawing the everyday life of the ancestors of the inhabitants of the desert.

Not far from Algiers, modern and cosmopolitan capital, is antique so well preserved sites that we would not imagine that they saw spending thousands of years. Numerous cities are recognized for the beauty of these sites, it is the case in particular of Tipaza, Which we can admire vestiges in its archaeological park, very beautiful site by the sea shaded by pines and dominated by impressive Djebel Chenoua. On the West, the vestiges of the roman time demonstrate that Tipaza knew a remarkable development. In about ten km in the southeast of Tipaza, on Sidi Rached's road, we find the Mausoleum Royal Maurétanien, Also called the Grave of the Christian, classified in 1982 in the UNESCO world heritage. It is a vast mausoleum in the shape of cone, dating the IIth century before J.C., and rising in terraces about 40 meters. It is believed that he would have served as grave to king Juba II and in his wife Cléopâtre Séléné (girl of Cléopâtre of Egypt and Marc Antoine). Farther, there is Cherchell. Considered as the twin of Tipaza, Cherchell possesses one of the most beautiful museum of Algeria and a port dating the roman time, still used nowadays by the anglers. The Roman vestiges are so many to Cherchell that it was necessary to open the second museum, vaster, in the park of mosaics.

The Big western Erg shelters numerous prehistoric sites. Engravings representing animals and cut flints discovered in the palm grove of Taghit, reveal the existence and the importance of the Neolithic civilization. In about ten kilometers of Ouargla is the site of Sedrata, the old capital ibadite nicknamed the glorious for its prosperity. Destroyed in the XIth century, it was buried under sand dunes. It is that thanks to the air reconnaissance that it was able to be located. Searches allowed releasing some constructions that reveal their areas and their wealth. It is in hundred kilometers of Tamanrasset that the grave of the Tuareg queen Tin Hinan. But the southeast especially recognized for its rupestral engravings in particular on the mount Garet El Djnoun. We distinguish domesticated and wild animals there. These drawings would date of at least 2700 years BC, It is one of the most beautiful frescoes of Sahara.

Following the example of Oran, numerous cities of Oranie kept the Spanish influence. So the emblem of Oran is Strong Spanish of Santa Cruz, and Tlemcen, the second city of the region, is recognized for its Moresque buildings of the quality of those of Andalusia. Following the example of Oran, numerous cities of Oranie kept the Spanish influence. So the emblem of Oran is Strong Spanish of Santa Cruz, and Tlemcen, the second city of the region, is recognized for its Moresque buildings of the quality of those of Andalusia. Most of the big cities of the region were based(established) during the Middle Ages, only some cities as Ain Temouchent date Roman period. We can also see in the close neighborhood of Tiaret the prehistoric sites, the graves dating Berber kingdoms.

The region east from Algeria is the one that possesses the most plentiful reserve of archaeological remains. Most of these antique sites are classified and contribute to the fame of the region. To 30 km of Constantine, is the site of Tiddis, town numide which holds important vestiges of this period. Most of these antique sites are classified and contribute to the fame of the region. To 30 km of Constantine, is the site of Tiddis, town numide holding important vestiges of this period. This site was modified by the Romans, and arranged according to their system of urbanization. Not far, there is Cirta site’s which receives important vestiges. Annaba went to a lot of trouble to take out the antique city of eight centuries of forgetting. Finally, we find Timgad, The African Pompeii. Considered for its excellent state of preservation, the site of the Roman city of Thamugadi, classified in the world heritage of the humanity by the UNESCO in 1982, had to wait for the end of the XIXth century for the release of ruins. Timgad enjoys the rare privilege to know the exact date of his(her) foundation: in the year 100 ap. J.-C.par Emperor Trajean. Timgad enjoys the rare privilege to know the exact date of its foundation: in the year 100 ap. J.-C.par Emperor Trajean.