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Algeria travel guide - Travel S Helper

Algeria

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Algeria (Arabic: al-Jaz’ir; Berber: Dzayer, ;), formally the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a sovereign state on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. Algiers, the country’s capital and most populated city, is located in the country’s far north. Algeria is the tenth-biggest country in the world and the largest in Africa, with an area of 2,381,741 square kilometers (919,595 square miles).

Algeria is surrounded by Tunisia to the northeast, Libya to the east, Morocco to the west, the Western Saharan region, Mauritania, and Mali to the southwest, Niger to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north. The nation is divided into 48 provinces and 1,541 communes and is governed by a semi-presidential republic (counties). Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been the President of Algeria since 1999.

Many empires and dynasties ruled over ancient Algeria, including the Numidians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Umayyads, Abbasids, Idrisids, Aghlabids, Rustamids, Fatimids, Zirids, Hammadids, Almoravids, Almohads, Ottomans, and the French colonial Berbers are often regarded as Algeria’s original population. Following the Arab conquest of North Africa, most indigenous populations were Arabised; consequently, while the majority of Algerians are Berber in origin, the majority identify as Arab.

Algerians are primarily Berbers, with some Arabs, Turks, Sub-Saharan Africans, and Andalusians thrown in for good measure (people from southern Spain who migrated after the reconquista).

Algeria is a regional and middle-of-the-road power. The North African country sells a considerable amount of natural gas to Europe, and energy exports constitute the economy’s backbone. Algeria has the 17th biggest oil reserves in the world and the second largest in Africa, according to OPEC, and the 9th largest natural gas reserves. Sonatrach, the national oil corporation, is Africa’s largest.

Algeria has one of Africa’s largest military and the continent’s highest defense budget; the majority of Algeria’s weaponry are bought from Russia, with whom it has a close alliance. Algeria is a member of the African Union, the Arab League, OPEC, the United Nations, and the Maghreb Union, which it founded.

Tourism in Algeria

Tourism in Algeria provides just around 1% of the country’s GDP. Algeria’s tourism sector falls behind that of its neighboring countries, Morocco and Tunisia. Algeria barely gets around 200,000 tourists and visitors each year. The majority of visitors are ethnic Algerian French nationals, followed by Tunisians. The low amount of tourism is due to a mix of subpar hotel amenities, a perceived danger of terrorism, and outdated, Soviet-style visa procedures. The government, on the other hand, has established a plan known as “Horizon 2025,” which is intended to remedy the shortage of infrastructure. Several hotel operators want to construct hotels, especially along the Mediterranean coast. Another possibility is to go on adventure vacations in the south. Algeria’s government aimed to increase the number of international visitors, including tourists, to 1.2 million by 2010. Algeria is also collaborating with the World Tourism Organization on a new goal. The number of international visitors visiting Algeria rose by 20% each year between 2000 and 2005, Tourism Minister Noureddine Moussa stated Monday (October 30) during a meeting with executives from the industry. Since November 2005, the ministry has issued over 140 construction licenses in the tourist industry to nationals who wish to invest in tourism infrastructure.

Demographics

Algeria’s population was projected to be 40.4 million people in January 2016, with the majority being Arab-Berber ethnicity. It had a population of around four million people at the turn of the twentieth century. Approximately 90% of Algerians live in the northern, coastal region; residents of the Sahara desert are mostly concentrated in oasis, but 1.5 million remain nomadic or partially nomadic. Algerians under the age of 15 account for 28.1 percent of the population.

Women make up 70% of the country’s attorneys and 60% of its judges, and they also dominate the medical profession. Women are increasingly contributing more to family income than males. According to university academics, women make about 60% of university students.

In the Sahrawi refugee camps in the western Algerian Sahara desert, between 90,000 and 165,000 Sahrawis from Western Sahara reside. There are also about 4,000 Palestinian refugees who have settled in nicely and have not sought help from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In 2009, Algeria had 35,000 Chinese migrant laborers.

Outside of Algeria, France has the highest concentration of Algerian migrants, with approximately 1.7 million Algerians of up to the second generation living there.

Ethnic groups

Algeria’s history has been shaped by indigenous Berbers, Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, different Sub-Saharan Africans, and French. Descendants of Andalusian exiles may also be found in Algiers and other places. Furthermore, these Aragonese and Castillian Morisco ancestors spoke Spanish well into the 18th century, while Catalan Morisco descendants in the tiny town of Grish El-Oued spoke Catalan at the same time.

Former Algerian Turks, descendants of Turkish kings, soldiers, physicians, and others who controlled the area under Ottoman Empire in North Africa, number 600,000 to 2 million. Today’s Turkish descendants are often referred to as Kouloughlis, which means “descendants of Turkish males and local Algerian women.”

Despite the dominance of Berber culture and ethnicity in Algeria, the majority of Algerians identify with an Arabic-based identity, particularly since the rise of Arab nationalism in the twentieth century. Berbers and Berber-speaking Algerians are split into many groupings, each with its own language. The Kabyles, who reside in the Kabylie area east of Algiers, the Chaoui of Northeast Algeria, the Tuaregs of the southern desert, and the Shenwa of North Algeria are the biggest of these.

During the colonial era, there was a sizable (10% in 1960) European population known as Pied-Noirs. They were mostly of French, Spanish, and Italian descent. Almost majority of this people emigrated during or soon after the fight of independence.

Religion

With 99 percent of the people practicing Islam, it is the most common religion. The M’zab Valley in the Ghardaia area is home to about 150,000 Ibadis.

In 2008, there were an estimated 10,000 Christians in Algeria. According to a 2009 survey, Algeria has 45,000 Catholics and 50,000–100,000 Protestants. According to a 2015 research, 380,000 Muslims converted to Christianity in Algeria.

Following the Revolution and Algerian independence, all but 6,500 of the nation’s 140,000 Jews fled the country, with about 90% migrating to France with the Pied-Noirs and 10% migrating to Israel.

Algeria has produced a number of notable intellectuals for the Muslim world, including Emir Abdelkader, Abdelhamid Ibn Badis, Mouloud Kacem Nait-Belkacem, Malek Bennabi, and Mohamed Arkoun.

Geography

Algeria is Africa’s, the Arab world’s, and the Mediterranean Basin’s biggest nation. Its southernmost region contains a large chunk of the Sahara. To the north, the Tell Atlas joins the Saharan Atlas, while to the south, two parallel sets of reliefs approach eastward, with large plains and hills inserted between. In eastern Algeria, the Atlas Mountains tend to converge. The huge mountain ranges of Aures and Nememcha encompass the whole of northeastern Algeria and are bordered by Tunisia. Mount Tahat is the highest point (3,003 m).

Algeria is mostly located between latitudes 19° and 37°N (with a tiny region north of 37°) and longitudes 9°W and 12°E. The majority of the coastline is steep, if not mountainous, with a few natural harbors. The region between the seashore and the Tell Atlas is fertile. South of the Tell Atlas, there is a steppe environment that leads to the Saharan Atlas; farther south, there is the Sahara desert.

The Ahaggar Mountains (Arabic: ), also known as the Hoggar, are a highland area in southern Algeria’s central Sahara. They are approximately 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) south of Algiers and slightly west of Tamanghasset. Algeria’s major cities include Algiers, Oran, Constantine, and Annaba.

Climate

Midday desert temperatures in this area may be very high all year. However, after sunset, the clear, dry air allows for fast heat loss, and the evenings are cold to chilly. Temperatures vary dramatically during the day.

Rainfall is quite abundant throughout the Tell Atlas’s coastal region, ranging from 400 to 670 mm (15.7 to 26.4 in) yearly, with precipitation increasing from west to east. Precipitation is greatest in northern eastern Algeria, where it may exceed 1,000 mm (39.4 in) in certain years.

Rainfall is less abundant farther inland. Algeria also contains ergs, or sand dunes, which are found between mountains. During the summer, when winds are strong and gusty, temperatures may reach 43.3 °C (110 °F).

Fauna and flora

Algeria’s diverse environment includes coastal, hilly, and grassy desert-like areas, all of which sustain a diverse variety of animals. Many of the animals that make up Algerian wildlife live in close proximity to humans. The most frequent creatures observed are wild boars, jackals, and gazelles, but fennecs (foxes) and jerboas are also prevalent. Algeria also contains a tiny population of African leopards and Saharan cheetahs, although they are seldom observed. The Barbary stag is a kind of deer that lives in the thick humid woods of the north-eastern regions.

Bird enthusiasts flock to the nation because of the diversity of bird species. Boars and jackals live in the woods. The only native monkeys are barbary macaques. Snakes, monitor lizards, and a variety of other reptiles may be found living alongside a variety of rodents in Algeria’s semi-arid areas. Many creatures, including Barbary lions, Atlas bears, and crocodiles, have become extinct.

Native vegetation in the north includes Macchia scrub, olive trees, oaks, cedars, and various conifers. Large forests of evergreens (Aleppo pine, juniper, and evergreen oak) and some deciduous trees may be found in the mountain areas. Warmer climates support the growth of fig, eucalyptus, agave, and different palm plants. The grapevine is native to the seashore. Some oasis in the Sahara area contain palm trees. The rest of the Sahara’s vegetation is dominated by acacias and wild olives.

Camels are widely employed, and the desert is teeming with poisonous and nonvenomous snakes, scorpions, and a plethora of insects.

Economy

The World Bank classifies Algeria as a nation with an upper medium income. The Algerian dinar is the country’s currency (DZD). The state continues to dominate the economy, a remnant of the country’s socialist post-independence growth paradigm. In recent years, the Algerian government has delayed privatization of state-owned enterprises and placed limitations on imports and foreign investment in the country’s economy.

Algeria has failed to establish sectors other than hydrocarbons, owing in part to high prices and an ineffective governmental bureaucracy. The government’s attempts to diversify the economy by encouraging international and local investment outside of the energy industry have done nothing to alleviate significant young unemployment or housing shortages. The nation is dealing with a variety of short- and medium-term issues, such as the need to diversify the economy, enhance political, economic, and financial reforms, improve the business environment, and decrease regional disparities.

The Algerian government responded to a wave of economic demonstrations in February and March 2011 by offering more than $23 billion in public handouts and retroactive wage and benefit hikes. During the last five years, yearly public expenditure has risen by 27%. The 2010–14 public-investment program will cost $286 billion, with human development receiving 40% of the funds.

Algeria’s economy expanded by 2.6 percent in 2011, due to increased state expenditure, particularly in the building and public-works sectors, as well as rising domestic demand. Growth is projected to be 4.8 percent if hydrocarbons are removed. In 2012, growth of 3% is projected, increasing to 4.2 percent in 2013. The inflation rate was 4%, while the budget deficit was 3% of GDP. The current-account surplus is projected to be 9.3 percent of GDP, and official reserves were valued at US$182 billion at the end of December 2011. Between 2003 and 2007, inflation, which was the lowest in the area, stayed steady at 4 percent on average.

Algeria reported a fiscal surplus of $26.9 billion in 2011, a 62 percent increase over the 2010 surplus. Overall, the nation exported $73 billion in goods while importing $46 billion.

Algeria has $173 billion in foreign currency reserves and a substantial hydrocarbon stabilization fund as a result of high hydrocarbon income. Furthermore, Algeria’s foreign debt is very modest, accounting for just around 2% of GDP. The economy is still heavily reliant on petroleum riches, and despite large foreign currency reserves (US$178 billion, equal to three years of imports), current spending growth leaves Algeria’s budget more susceptible to the danger of protracted low hydrocarbon income.

In 2011, the agriculture industry and services grew by 10% and 5.3 percent, respectively.

The agriculture industry employs about 14% of the working force. Fiscal policy remained expansionary in 2011, allowing the pace of public investment to be maintained while also controlling the high demand for employment and homes.

Despite many years of talks, Algeria has yet to join the WTO.

During a visit to Algeria by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first by a Russian leader in half a century, Russia promised to erase $4.74 billion of Algeria’s Soviet-era debt in March 2006. According to the director of Russia’s national weapons exporter Rosoboronexport, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika promised to purchase $7.5 billion in combat aircraft, air defense systems, and other weaponry from Russia in exchange.

How To Travel To Algeria

Visa restrictionsDue to the Arab League Boycott of Israel, entry will be refused to citizens of Israel and to those who show stamps and/or visas from Israel.By planeMost major European carriers, including Lufthansa, Air Berlin, British Airways, Air France, Iberia, Alitalia, TAP Portugal, and Turkish Airlines, fly to Algiers on a regular basis, although...

How To Travel Around Algeria

WARNINGWhile Algeria has come a long way since the civil war in the 1990s, there are still occasional attacks against government institutions (buildings, police forces, etc). Such attacks include suicide bombings, false roadblocks, kidnappings, and ambushes , particularly in rural areas such as the Kabylie region of the country....

Destinations in Algeria

Algiers — The capital of Algeria and the country's political and cultural hub, Algiers has a population of over 3 million people.Annaba — Annaba is a town of 200,000 people in the country's east, on the border with Tunisia.BatnaBechar — Bechar is a small city in the Sahara near...

Things To See in Algeria

Algerian tourism, very much like Libya, is most renowned for its historical ruins, particularly those from the Phoenician, Roman, and Byzantine periods. Timgad at Batna, Hippo Regius at Annaba, Djemila at Sétif, Calama at Guelma, and remains from all three dynasties at Tipasa are among the most renowned.While the...

Food & Drinks in Algeria

Food in AlgeriaAlgerian cuisine is varied and rich. The country was referred to as Rome's "granary." It provides a variety of meals that vary based on the area and season. Cereals are the primary ingredients in the cuisine since they are constantly plentiful in the nation. Cereals may be...

Money & Shopping in Algeria

The Algerian dinar is the country's currency (DZD). DZD5, DZD10, DZD20, DZD50, and DZD100 coins are available. DZD100, DZD200, DZD500, DZD1000, DZD2000, and DZD5000 banknotes are available.USD1 equals DZD107 as of June 2016, and money may be exchanged in banks or post offices. Make sure the money you're exchanging...

Traditions & Customs in Algeria

RamadanRamadan is the Islamic calendar's ninth and holiest month, lasting 29–30 days. For the length of the fast, Muslims will fast every day, and most eateries will be closed until the fast ends at night. From sunrise to sunset, nothing (even water and smokes) is intended to pass past...

Language & Phrasebook in Algeria

The official language is Arabic, however the Arabic spoken in the Maghreb Region (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) differs significantly from Arabic spoken elsewhere in the Arab World, so don't be shocked if you don't understand anything spoken to you, even if you are fluent in standard Arabic. Many French...

Internet & Communications in Algeria

In Algeria, there are three major mobile service providers: Mobilis, Djezzy, and Ooredoo "Nedjma before." At every airport, you may easily get a pre-paid sim card for one of these carriers. Mobilis sells a pre-paid card for 200DA that comes with 100DA in calling credit. There are a number...

Culture Of Algeria

Algerian literature today, written in Arabic, Tamazight, and French, has been heavily affected by the country's recent past. Famous 20th-century writers include Mohammed Dib, Albert Camus, Kateb Yacine, and Ahlam Mosteghanemi, while Assia Djebar is frequently translated. Rachid Mimouni, subsequently vice-president of Amnesty International, and Tahar Djaout, killed by...

History of Algeria

Ancient historyEarly traces of hominid habitation in North Africa were discovered in the area of Ain Hanech (Sada Province) about 200,000 BC. Hand axes of the Levalloisian and Mousterian types (43,000 BC), comparable to those found in the Levant, were made by Neanderthal tool makers.Algeria has the greatest level...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Algeria

Stay Safe in AlgeriaTerrorism is prevalent in Algeria's south.Avoid traveling after dark; fly instead of driving; avoid small roads; and contact the police or gendarmes if you are uncertain about your surroundings. Check the government websites of Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand for travel information.Stay Healthy in AlgeriaLocalized...

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