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Discover Algeria

Presenting a country as large and diverse as Algeria is such an ambitious undertaking.

      This north African giant of 2.381.741 km2, 1600 km of coastline, and 6.000 km of borders is the largest in Africa, the Arab World, and the Mediterranean basin, and the tenth-largest in the world. It is bordered by Tunisia, Libya, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Western Sahara and Morocco; and is now becoming a booming economic power and tourist destination.

      Man has inhabited the region since the dawn of history as evidenced by its open-air galleries, the largest in the world, featuring paintings and bas-relief. Algeria has seen an impressive succession of different civilizations. Starting with its indigenous Berber kingdoms to the present-day republic, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Spanish, Turks, and French have all passed by here. In its early history, the country was inhabited by Berbers also known as Libyan or Amazigh. They are sedentary nomads that knew writing (characters are similar to those of Tifinagh used by current Tuareg), drawing, and particular grave structures: Bazinas. During the first state organization of Algeria, it was called Numidia and several generations of Berber kings have governed it from Syfax to Juba II.

      Starting in the 12th Century before Christ, the Phoenicians settled on the coast establishing several trade posts that helped influence a region predisposed to trade and universal exchange.

      After the destruction of Carthage in 146 before Christ and the victory of Rome over the Numidian kingdoms, the northern part of Algeria became part of the African provinces of the Roman Empire.

      There are still archaeological ruins which consist a prominent portion of the Algerian cultural heritage. One ought to see the military housing estates of Timgad Lambez, the beautiful and soft Djemila near Setif, or those coastal homes of which Tipaza gives a bright image.

      In the 7th Century, the Arab conquest began and resulted in a considerable change due to the massive conversion to Islam. Then came the Turkish regency in the 16th Century with which a maritime superiority was established that the legend continues to nourish.

      Many years were required, after the landing of French troops in 1830, to overcome the national resistance. However, after more than a century of colonization, the revolution broke out on November 1st, 1954 leading to independence on July 5th, 1962.

      Today Algeria is a young and dynamic state, but continues to assert the diversity that reveals also a way of life. In modern Algeria, the emphasis is being put on many sectors deemed essential: education, industry, agriculture, housing...

      A highly developed infrastructure offers a range of transportation choices. A network of highways allows for quick travel between the densely populated main cities in the north. The rail network crosses the country from east to west and connects the major cities of the North and South regions.

      What about tourism in Algeria?

In the north, the sandy beaches alternate with high green cliffs along which run the coastal roads such as those of Dahra in the west between Mostaganem, Tenes and Cherchell (ancient Caesarea); Chenoua between Cherchell and Tipaza; and then Sahel all the way up to Algiers. In the east, there is a coastal road of Kabylie from Dellys to Bejaia, then from Tychy to Jijel. Parallel to the coastline, runs the Tell Atlas, a mountain chain covered by green cedar forests that provide shade and coolness in the heat of summer.

      In the center, there are the mountains of Ouarsenis (1985m), Kef Righa (1714m), Chréa (1510m), Titteri, the chains of Hodna and Djurdjura that tower to nearly 3000m. Farther inland and strictly parallel to the Tell Atlas, lies the Saharan Atlas of 2300m with the mountains of Ksours, Djebel Amour, and Ouled Nail.

      Between the two Atlases, the highlands stretch as far as Alfa, and amid which the Aures chain hits 2328m at Jebel Chelia.

      Finally the Sahara, though to be flat, monotonous and empty, is however living, changing and magical. The silence, the white and ochre houses, the waves of sand, the space, but also the traces of greenery and oasis life, Erg, Hammada and dunes. So many magical words to explain this world amid which the Hoggar reigns supreme at more than 3000m carrying messages from civilizations thousands of years old (rock paintings and carvings ...) and witnessing every day the most beautiful sunset in the world.

      The different civilizations which were in Algeria for centuries, have left traces of exceptional values in this country. Ruins are scattered throughout the territory such as in Cherchell, Djemila, Timgad and Tebessa. One has to admire the Kalaa of Beni Hammed, the battlements of Almoravids, Almohads and Fatimids, in addition to minarets and mosques of Tlemcen, the palaces of Beys and Deys, the Casbahs of Algiers and Constantine.

      The museums also offer to visitors eyes treasures that tell about the incredible story of a people and a country. Collections of sculptures, paintings, mosaics, crafts abound in the many museums of history and archeology without forgetting the open-air museums of Tassili…

      Algeria attracts visitors throughout the year thanks to its exceptional climate; it is possible to relax in any season and the sun shines almost all year round. During the long weeks of winter and on the snowy peaks, one can ski in the equipped ski resorts of Chrea, Tikjdaet, and TalaGuilef.

      The forests are refuge of peace and solitude with villages hung impressively high on the peaks with many hot spring Hammams.Large holiday complexes, hotels, bungalows are available to everybody. Oases, seaside resort and ski resorts are equipped with equipment tailored to diverse needs and then there is the adventure of the Great South.

      The architectural ideas are admirable. The simple and symbolic decorations give an authentic ambience and make these new buildings original. Moreover, they are perfectly functional and contain playgrounds, pools and shops where the visitor will find a full range of handicrafts, carpets of thick wool and knotted wool, the Burnous, pieces of arabesques embroideries with flowers, with gold and silver thread on velvet, silk or leather.

      There is also basket-making - which decor is similar to that of pottery, carved furniture, copper plates, leather clothing, silver or golden jewelry of Beni Yenni with coral, without forgetting the beautiful and unusual roses of sand.

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