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Algeria travel guide - Travel S Helper

Algeria

travel guide


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.

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Algeria - Info Card

Population

44,700,000

Currency

Algerian dinar (DZD)

Time zone

UTC+1 (CET)

Area

2,381,741 km2 (919,595 sq mi)

Calling code

+213

Official language

Arabic

Algeria - Introduction

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 Of Algeria

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.

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.

How To Travel To Algeria

By plane

Most 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 there are several long-haul flights, such (Beijing, Montreal, Doha)

Flying through Barcelona or Madrid from the UK may be less expensive than flying straight.

The cheapest method to travel to Algiers from the United States is through London (British Airways), Paris (Air France), or Frankfurt (Lufthansa).

Air Algerie, the national airline, travels to numerous locations in Europe, particularly France, as well as certain towns in Africa and the Middle East. Abijan, Alicante, Bamako, Barcelona, Brussels, Basel, Beijing, Beirut, Berlin, Cairo, Casablanca, Dakar, Damascus, Dubai, Frankfurt, Geneva, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Milan, Montreal, Moscow, Niamey, Paris, Rome, Tripoli, Tunis are all destinations serviced by Air Algerie from Algiers.

More information about the Algiers airport may be found on the official website Aéroport d’Alger .

By train

The Algerian railway company is known as SNTF, and tickets may be purchased at train stations. Online booking does not seem to be available any more; schedules are subject to change; the best method to find out is to inquire at the railway station itself. The network is thick in the north. You can travel by rail from Tunisia to Algeria, but you will need to change trains at the border. Currently, all border crossings with Morocco are closed.

If possible, attempt to take one of the newer trains, which are more comfortable and climate-controlled.

By car

Libya has closed its land border with Algeria “temporarily.”
The most practical and safe route to enter Algeria by vehicle is via Tunisia. The Mauritanian and Malian borders are also unsafe, while the Moroccan border is blocked. It is important to note that if you wish to enter Algeria through Niger or the Tozeur border station in southern Tunisia, you must hire an official guide to accompany you over the Saharan roads; otherwise, authorities would not allow you to enter Algeria with your vehicle. If you wish to enter Algeria from the Tunisian border checkpoints in the north, there are no issues. The border with Morocco is still closed as of May 2012, although it is expected to reopen in July 2012.

By boat

Prices are typically more than flying, so if you can and don’t have a vehicle, take the aircraft. Algerie Ferries provides the majority of connections.

From/to Spain:

  • Alicante to Algiers and Oran
  • Almeria to Gazhaouet
  • Barcelona to Algiers and Oran

From/to France:

  • Marseille to almost every Algerian harbor (Annaba, Skikda, Bejaia, Jijel, Algiers, Oran)

From/to Italy:

  • Napoli to Tunis & take a road for 1 hour
  • Roma (Civitavecchia) to Tunis & take a road for 1 hour

How To Travel Around Algeria

Algeria is a large country, and traveling between major cities can take a lot of time and nerves. While distances are shorter in the more populated north, and a trip from east to west can be completed in a day, traveling to cities in the Sahara is more difficult because the south is barely connected with good roads, train, and bus connections.

Get Around By plane

With airplane, you can reach nearly every major Algerian city from Algiers, and it is strongly advised to take a flight for traveling longer distances or to Saharan locations. Houari Boumediene Airport in Algiers is the country’s only modern airport; the others are more like airfields with little facilities.

Air Algérie is the national airline, operating flights to virtually every Algerian city that has an airport. Prices vary according on the length of the trip traveled; tickets to smaller and Sahara ci: Applicants must include an invitation from their Algerian host that has been notarized at the city hall of the Algerian host’s place of residence with their application. Invitations faxed or sent separately will not be accepted by the Embassy.

Spouses of Algerian citizens must provide a copy of their spouse’s valid Consulate Registration Card as well as a sponsorship letter signed by the Algerian spouse.

Passport Return: Applicants may pick up their passports at the Embassy or mail a prepaid self-addressed envelope. The Embassy is not liable for missing or delayed documents caused by the post office or other visa providers.

Documentation must be in its whole. Incomplete paperwork may cause the processing time to be extended or returned to the applicant at the applicant’s expense. – If prior approval from Algerian authorities is needed, application processing may be delayed. Furthermore, the Embassy retains the right to ask any application for further documents. If there is a delay in the processing of the visa application, the Embassy is not responsible. – Applicants should plan their trip to Algeria depending on the date of entrance specified on their visa. Applicants should not arrive in Algeria before that date; otherwise, they will be denied entry. Applicants must get a new visa if their trip intentions change.

Ones are often more expensive than larger cities (such as Oran to Algier). The airline’s hub is Houari Boumediene Airport, where nearly all flights begin or end. There are seven daily flights from Algiers to Oran, as well as five daily flights to Annaba and Costantine. Other locations serviced daily or several days per week from Algiers include Adrar, El Oued, Tebessa, Batna, Biskra, Sétif, In Ames, Tindouf, Timmoun, Tlemcen, Tamanrasset, Tiaret, Tebessa, El Goela, Ouaragla, Hassi Mesaoud, Bejaia, Ghrardaia.

Get Around By taxi

When traveling between nearby cities or within cities, it is common to use a cab; the costs are quite reasonable; but, when traveling between larger cities across long distances, taxis are as costly as flying. Avoid using unauthorized taxis since the driver will almost certainly scam you off. Most taxis do not have a taximeter, so agree on a fee ahead of time. Many drivers will attempt to take advantage of your ignorance, but no matter what you are told, never pay more than 30 DA per kilometer. Tipping is not required, however you may round up to the nearest ten Dinars.

Get Around By car

The road network in the north is highly developed; the Algerian government has made significant improvements in road construction in recent years, with new highways constructed to replace the existing marod roads. The most significant route is the 1200 km long N1 (Route est-ouest) from Annaba to Oran, which connects virtually all major towns in the north, including Algiers.

Because of the well-functioning public transit system, a vehicle is not strictly required, although it may be helpful to access more distant places on occasion. Keep in mind that driving practices in China are totally different from those in the West, and that laws and prohibitive signs are seen as recommendations, even by the police! Allowing a local Algerian to drive for you in the first few days to acquire a feel for the driving style is a smart choice; if this is not feasible, it is advised that you remain on the roads.

Do not attempt to reach Saharan regions in any vehicle other than a 4×4, since periodic dunes on the roads and severe temperature fluctuations would provide a challenge to both the driver and the vehicle.

Fuel is very inexpensive, costing little more than 15 DA per litre.

Get Around By train

Algerian railroads are operated by SNTF, and trains and lines are presently being modernized. Ten comfortable high-speed trains known as Autorail were purchased, with two of them presently in service. Tickets may only be purchased at railway stations; costs are reasonable but more than buses or taxis, but in exchange, you will have greater luxury and enjoy beautiful scenery.

Main Routes :

  • Algiers to Oran, the train takes 4 hours and departs each day at 15:00 from Algiers Central Station and arrives in Oran at 19:30, 2nd Class: 1.000 DA, 1st Class: 1.500 DA.
  • Algiers to Annaba, the only option is a sluggish and less comfortable nighttrain, which departs each day at 20:45 and takes the whole night to reach Annaba. Alternatively, you may take the daytrain to Constantine and then a cheap cab to Annaba.
  • Algiers to Constantine departing each day at 06:45 and arriving in Constantine at 13:30, make sure that you get a window seat because the train will take you through the scenic kabilyan mountains and wonderful landscapes, 2nd Class: 1.200 DA, 1st Class : 1.800 DA.

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.
  • Batna
  • Bechar — Bechar is a small city in the Sahara near the Moroccan border.
  • Constantine – Constantine is Algeria’s third-largest city, with a canyon running through it.
  • Oran — Algeria’s second biggest city after Algiers, often known as the “second Paris” by Algerians, has several magnificent colonial-era structures.
  • Sétif — Kabyle’s administrative center, with relatively mild winter temperatures and occasional snowfall.
  • Tamanrasset — Tamanrasset is the southernmost town and the starting point for treks to the Sahara and the Hoggar Mountains.
  • Timimoun — A tiny Saharan oasis hamlet that serves as an excellent base for desert excursions.

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 Roman remains are more well-known, Algeria’s biggest tourist attractions are in the Sahara; no other nation on the planet can match the variety of thrilling and unique experiences available in the vast desert. In the M’zab Valley, the crown gem is the epicenter of Mozabite culture. The five towns are linked by a magnificent architectural playground reminiscent of contemporary cubist and surrealist art. They have to be seen in person to be believed. The harsh, rugged Saharan Atlas mountains, the endless desert and Hoggar Mountains around the country’s desert capital of Tamanrasset, the massive dune field of the Grand Erg Oriental at El-Oued, and the ancient rock carvings of Djelfa and the Saharan National Park of Tassili N’Ajjer are among the country’s most impressive landscapes.

Algeria’s Mediterranean beaches are severely undeveloped, despite their great potential, due to the country’s terrible security situation, which has scared away almost all visitors. However, if you plan on being in the nation for a long, a little rest and relaxation will be in order at some time, and there is no need to travel to Tunisia. Beaches may be found at Oran (urban) on the Turquoise Coast, Annaba, and, in particular, Skikda and Ghazaouet. The seaside village of Sidi Fredj is definitely the place to visit near Algiers.

You may be shocked at how little there is to see in Algeria’s main cities—the country’s more exotic locations are a far greater attraction than its contemporary culture (stifled by war and dismal governance), Islamic history, and colonial past. Given its important position in the country’s economic, political, and cultural life, Algiers, the famous White City, is really a lot less touristy city than one would anticipate. However, because all tourists must pass through, the Casbah—Algiers’ ancient seventeenth-century heart—is well worth a visit. In the northwest, there are a few beautiful, more laid-back major cities, notably Oran, the country’s second largest city, and Tlemcen, the country’s ancient capital. Constantine is the only big city in the northeast that deserves to be on your itinerary.

Food & Drinks in Algeria

Food in Algeria

Algerian 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 found in just about every meal.

Algerian cuisine differs from area to region, depending on the availability of seasonal crops. Meat, fish, and veggies may all be used to make it. Couscous, chorba, Rechta, Chakhchoukha, Berkoukes, Shakshouka, Mthewem, Chtitha, Mderbel, Dolma, Brik or Bourek, Garantita, Lham’hlou, and other foods are well-known. In Algeria, Merguez sausage is commonly used, although it varies based on the area and the spices used.

Cakes are sold and may be found in Algerian, European, and North American cities. Traditional cakes, on the other hand, are prepared at home according to each family’s traditions and customs. Tamina, Chrik, Garn logzelles, Griouech, Kalb el-louz, Makroud, Mbardja, Mchewek, Samsa, Tcharak, Baghrir, Khfaf, Zlabia, Aarayech, Ghroubiya, and Mghergchette are some of the cakes available. Tunisian or French cakes are also seen in Algerian pastry. Kessra, Khmira, Harchaya, chopsticks, and so-called washers Khoubz dar or Matloue are examples of commercial and home-made bread goods. Biskra is also known for its traditional dishes (Chakhchokha-Hassoua-T’chicha-Mahjouba and Doubara).

Algerian cuisine is delectable. It’s worth noting that certain French recipes are based on it.

  • Fettate (Sahara speciality, in Tamanrasset)
  • Taguella (bread of sand, a nomad speciality)
  • Couscous (steamed semolina with sauce containing meat and/or potatoes, carrots, courgette, and chick peas)
  • Buseluf (cooked lambs head)
  • Dowara (stew of stomach and intestines with courgette & chick peas)
  • Chorba (a meaty soup)
  • Rechta (hand made spaghetti, usually served with a clear chicken broth, potatoes & chick peas)
  • Chakchouka (normally, it has green peppers, onions and tomatoes; egg may be added)
  • Mechoui (charcoal grilled lamb)
  • Algerian pizza
  • Tajine (stew)
  • Mhadjeb

Desserts and snacks

  • Qalb El Louz (dessert containing almonds)
  • Baklawa (almond cakes drenched in honey)
  • Ktayef (a kind of baked vermicelli, filled with almonds and drenched in sugar, syrup, and honey)

Drinks in Algeria

Algeria produces a variety of wines (albeit not in large quantities) as well as beer. Algeria was previously known for its excellent wines. The new output, especially the red wine, is likewise of exceptional quality. Locally brewed beer is also of excellent quality. Because Algeria is a mostly Muslim nation, alcohol is not widely available, although it is not difficult to obtain. Wine and alcoholic beverages are offered at a few bar restaurants, nicer hotels, and nightclubs in major cities. Some bars/restaurants may be located in beautiful parks, so search for them if you’re in a great forested park. Beer is not sold at open and cheap fast food restaurants, and alcoholic beverages are not sold in coffee shops. If you visit Algiers or coastal towns, virtually every fishing port has a fish restaurant; the fishing is traditional, and the fish offered is extremely fresh; these restaurants generally serve alcohol, but you must inquire (do not expect to see it, some times it is on the menu, some times not).

Finally, discreet stores that sell alcoholic beverages allow you to purchase your own bottle of Algerian wine to take home. It’s best to get it at the Algiers airport, but expect to spend about €15 per bottle. Buying alcoholic beverages in smaller towns may be difficult; you’ll generally find them on the outskirts of town in shady places, and the circumstances in which the alcohol was stored are often questionable. Although some Muslims drink, they believe drinking to be a sin. It’s personal, but it’s also societal. If someone welcomes you into his house without offering alcohol, he does not expect you to be drunk or smell like alcohol, nor does he expect you to bring your own bottle or even mention drinking in front of his wife and children.

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 are in excellent shape; many are hesitant to take torn or older banknotes. Avoid using currencies other than euros or US dollars since it may be difficult to locate a bank that would convert them.

Exchanging money with unauthorized money changers on street corners typically results in a higher exchange rate. There are certain places where this is very prevalent. The proposed exchange rate is usually much better than the official rate (eg EUR1 to DZD100 vs EUR1 to DZD150). It seems to be a fairly safe procedure, and it is often carried out in the presence of police officers who appear unconcerned.

ATMs are plentiful and can be located in any post office or bigger bank, where you may withdraw Algerian dinar using any major credit card or Maestro card. If a pin with six digits is required, just add two zeros to the beginning of your pin. A lot of Algerian-branded ATMs don’t accept international cards (even though they say they do) – we tried around 6 ATMs and just one of them worked (a Societe Generale one).

Algeria is, in general, a cash-based culture, with most businesses refusing to take credit cards. Some hotels do (especially the bigger ones), while some do not. By taking advantage of the considerably superior conversion rates provided by the illegal exchange market, such as those described above, bringing a big supply of Euro in cash may result in much cheaper trips.

In comparison to western circumstances, living in Algeria is extremely inexpensive; for example, DZD300 can buy you a full dinner or a bus trip from Algiers to Oran (400 km). A mid-sized apartment would usually set you back DZD60,000 per month if you pay six months in advance; an underground metro ticket will set you back DZD50.

Traditions & Customs in Algeria

Ramadan

Ramadan 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 the lips. Non-muslims are exempt, although they should still avoid eating or drinking in public since it is considered rude. In the business sector, working hours are also being reduced. Ramadan’s exact dates are determined by local astronomical measurements and may vary somewhat from nation to country. Ramadan comes to an end with the Eid al-Fitr celebration, which may last up to three days in most countries.

The main religion in Algeria, like in all of North Africa, is Islam, therefore suitable religious restrictions and attitudes should be in place. If you’re going to a mosque, for example, dress modestly and take off your shoes before entering. Some localities ban bars and/or liquor shops, which is not the case everywhere in the nation. Keep in mind that you should only drink at home or at a bar, not in public.

Furthermore, considering the current political climate, it is not appropriate to discuss politics.

Smoking

All smokes are widely available.

Smoking in a public location in the presence of someone who is not a smoker requires his consent. If someone complains about the smoke, coughs, or begs you not to smoke, just stop and apologize. This is something the natives do. If you are invited to someone’s home, do not smoke unless the host does, and then you may request permission to smoke.

You may smoke at a restaurant or coffee shop where people smoke, but if you’re with locals who aren’t smokers, ask them beforehand whether it’s alright. As a result of increased public health awareness, less and fewer individuals smoke. Smoking is also culturally taboo for women, and those who do so are ostracized.

Even if you are a non-smoker in Europe, you will find smoking in many public areas to be uncomfortable.

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 terms may be found in Algerian Arabic.

All Algerians who have attended school will be able to speak standard Arabic, although it is not the primary communication language; if you don’t understand someone, ask them to speak standard Arabic (al-arabiyya al-fus’ha). Because of the popularity of Egyptian film, Egyptian Arabic is very widely understood.

The colonial language, French, is still extensively spoken, and nearly every educated native you encounter will be fluent in both Arabic and French.

Berber is also widely spoken in Algeria, mostly in rural regions, the biggest of which being the ancient Kabylie region, which encompasses much of central and northeast Algeria, close to the city.

In general, only the younger generations in Algeria can comprehend and speak some English (some kids can speak and understand English quite well as early as the first year of high school), but the majority of people can converse in French.

Some popular Algerian Arabic phrases:

  • Washrak— How are you ?
  • Mlih — Good
  • Shukran — Thank you
  • Y’Semoni or wasamni …. — My Name is ….
  • Shehal — How much ? or how much it cost ?

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 of general shops throughout the nation that offer refill cards for these carriers. On December 1, 2013, 3G services were introduced, while 4G was under testing.

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 an Islamist gang in 1993 for his secularist beliefs, were both prominent writers of the 1980s.

Malek Bennabi and Frantz Fanon are well-known for their views on decolonization; Augustine of Hippo was born in Tagaste (modern-day Souk Ahras); and Ibn Khaldun, although being born in Tunis, authored the Muqaddima while in Algeria. The works of the Sanusi dynasty in pre-colonial times, as well as Emir Abdelkader and Sheikh Ben Badis in colonial times, are well-known. Apuleius, the Latin author, was born in Madaurus (Mdaourouch), which subsequently became Algeria.

In terms of genre, contemporary Algerian film is diverse, covering a broader variety of topics and problems. There has been a shift away from films on the Algerian independence struggle and toward films about the daily life of Algerians.

History of Algeria

Ancient history

Early 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 of development in Middle Paleolithic Flake tool technology. This era’s tools, which began about 30,000 BC, are known as Aterian (after the archeological site of Bir el Ater, south of Tebessa).

Iberomaurusian blade industry were the first in North Africa (located mainly in Oran region). Between 15,000 and 10,000 BC, this industry seems to have expanded across the Maghreb’s coastal areas. The Neolithic civilisation (animal domestication and agriculture) emerged in the Saharan and Mediterranean Maghreb as early as 11,000 BC or as late as 6000–2000 BC. This way of life predominated in Algeria until the classical era, as vividly portrayed in the Tassili n’Ajjer paintings.

The mixture of North African peoples ultimately crystallized into a separate local group known as Berbers, who are the indigenous peoples of northern Africa.

The Carthaginians extended and built minor towns along the North African coast from their main base of power at Carthage; by 600 BC, a Phoenician presence was at Tipasa, east of Cherchell, Hippo Regius (modern Annaba), and Rusicade (modern Skikda). These communities functioned as both market towns and anchorages.

As Carthaginian dominance expanded, so did its effect on the indigenous people. Berber civilisation had progressed to the point that agriculture, industry, commerce, and political structure could sustain many nations. Trade connections between Carthage and the Berbers of the interior expanded, but territorial expansion also led in the slavery or military recruitment of certain Berbers and the collection of tribute from others.

By the early fourth century BC, Berbers had become the Carthaginian army’s single biggest component. Berber troops revolted in the Revolt of the Mercenaries from 241 to 238 BC after being underpaid after Carthage’s loss in the First Punic War. They were successful in gaining control of most of Carthage’s North African empire, and they issued coins carrying the term Libyan, which was used in Greek to designate North African people. The Carthaginian state collapsed as a result of repeated Roman losses in the Punic Wars.

The city of Carthage was destroyed in 146 BC. As Carthaginian hegemony weakened, Berber chiefs’ influence in the hinterland increased. Several powerful but loosely governed Berber kingdoms had formed by the 2nd century BC. Two of them were founded in Numidia, behind Carthage’s control over the coastal regions. West of Numidia was Mauretania, which spanned the Moulouya River in modern-day Morocco all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. The reign of Massinissa in the 2nd century BC marked the pinnacle of Berber civilisation, which would not be surpassed until the arrival of the Almohads and Almoravids more than a millennium later.

The Berber kingdoms were split and reunited many times after Masinissa’s death in 148 BC. Massinissa’s dynasty lasted until 24 AD, when the Roman Empire seized the remaining Berber land.

For many years, Algeria was controlled by the Romans, who established many colonies in the area. Algeria, like the rest of North Africa, was one of the empire’s breadbaskets, exporting grains and other agricultural goods. Saint Augustine was the bishop of Hippo Regius (modern-day Algeria), a Roman province in Africa. Geiseric’s Germanic Vandals invaded North Africa in 429 and dominated coastal Numidia by 435. They made no significant settlement on the land because they were harassed by local tribes; in fact, by the time the Byzantines arrived, Lepcis Magna had been abandoned and the Msellata region had been occupied by the indigenous Laguatan, who had been busy facilitating an Amazigh political, military, and cultural revival.

Middle Ages

The Arabs invaded Algeria in the mid-7th century, with little opposition from the natives, and a significant proportion of the indigenous people converted to the new religion. Following the collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate, a number of local dynasties arose, including the Aghlabids, Almohads, Abdalwadids, Zirids, Rustamids, Hammadids, Almoravids, and Fatimids.

During the Middle Ages, North Africa was home to many famous scholars, saints, and rulers, including Judah Ibn Quraysh, the first grammarian to propose the Afroasiatic language family, the great Sufi gurus Sidi Boumediene (Abu Madyan) and Sidi El Houari, and the Emirs Abd Al Mu’min and Yghmrasen. During this time, the Fatimids, or children of Fatima, Muhammad’s daughter, arrived in the Maghreb. These “Fatimids” went on to establish a long-lasting dynasty spanning the Maghreb, Hejaz, and the Levant, having a secular interior administration as well as a strong army and fleet comprised mainly of Arabs and Levantians ranging from Algeria to their capital state of Cairo. When the Fatimid caliphate’s governors, the Zirids, seceded, the Fatimid empire started to crumble. To punish them, the Fatimids sent the Arabs Banu Hilal and Banu Sulaym against them. The epic Tghribt tells the story of the ensuing battle. In Al-Tghrbt, the Amazigh Zirid Hero Khlf Al-Znat begs for duels on a regular basis in order to beat the Hilalan hero Ibn Zayd al-Hilal and many other Arab knights in a series of triumphs. The Zirids, on the other hand, were eventually vanquished, ushering in the adoption of Arab traditions and culture. The indigenous Amazigh tribes, on the other hand, remained mostly independent, and depending on tribe, location, and time controlled varying parts of the Maghreb, at times uniting it (as under the Fatimids). During the Islamic Era, caliphates from Northern Africa traded with other empires as well as being part of a confederated support and commerce network with other Islamic kingdoms.

Historically, the Amazighs were made up of many tribes. The two major branches were the Botr and Barnès tribes, which were further subdivided into tribes and sub-tribes. There were numerous tribes in each Maghreb area (for example, Sanhadja,Houara, Zenata, Masmouda, Kutama, Awarba, and Berghwata). All of these tribes made their own territorial choices.

Several Amazigh dynasties arose in the Maghreb and other neighboring regions throughout the Middle Ages. Ibn Khaldun summarizes the Amazigh dynasties of the Maghreb area, including the Zirid, Banu Ifran, Maghrawa, Almoravid, Hammadid, Almohad, Merinid, Abdalwadid, Wattasid, Meknassa, and Hafsid.

Spain built fortified outposts (presidios) on or near the Algerian coast in the early 16th century. In 1505 and 1509, Spain gained possession of a few coastal towns, including Mers el Kebir, Oran, and Tlemcen, Mostaganem, and Ténès. In the same year, a few Algiers merchants gave one of their harbor’s rocky islands to Spain, who constructed a fort on it. The presidios in North Africa proved to be an expensive and mostly unsuccessful military venture that did not provide access for Spain’s commercial fleet.

Arabization

There ruled in Ifriqiya, modern Tunisia, a Berber dynasty, Zirid, who acknowledged the Fatimid caliph of Cairo’s suzerainty. The Zirid king or viceroy, el-Mu’izz, most likely chose to terminate this suzerainty in 1048. The Fatimid kingdom was too weak to launch a punitive expedition; the Viceroy, el-Mu’izz, devised another method of retaliation.

Between the Nile and the Red Sea, there were living Bedouin tribes exiled from Arabia for their disturbance and tumultuous impact, such Banu Hilal and Banu Sulaym, whose presence disturbed farmers in the Nile Valley because the nomads would often steal. The then Fatimid vizier developed a plan to cede sovereignty of the Maghreb and gained his sovereign’s approval. This not only encouraged the Bedouins to flee, but the Fatimid treasury also provided them with a little financial stipend for their journey.

Women, children, ancestors, animals, and camping equipment were carried by whole tribes. Some halted along the route, particularly in Cyrenaica, where they are still an important part of the population, but the majority came in Ifriqiya through the Gabes area. The Zirid king attempted to stem the growing tide, but at each encounter, including the most recent beneath the walls of Kairouan, his soldiers were beaten, and the Arabs remained lords of the field.

The water was steadily rising, and in 1057, the Arabs expanded over Constantine’s high plains, gradually choking Qalaa of Banu Hammad, as they had done Kairouan a few decades before. From there, they eventually acquired control of the upper Algiers and Oran plains, some of which were seized by force by the Almohads in the second part of the 12th century. We may conclude that in the 13th century, with the exception of the major mountain ranges and some coastal areas, North Africa was completely Berber.

Ottoman Algeria

From 1516 until 1830, the area of Algeria was partly controlled by the Ottomans. The Turkish privateer brothers Aruj and Hayreddin Barbarossa, who had previously operated effectively under the Hafsids, relocated their center of operations to Algiers in 1516. They were successful in taking Jijel and Algiers from the Spaniards, but ultimately took control of the city and surrounding area, compelling the previous monarch, Abu Hamo Musa III of the Bani Ziyad dynasty, to leave. When Aruj was slain during his assault of Tlemcen in 1518, Hayreddin took over as military leader of Algiers. The Ottoman sultan bestowed the title of beylerbey upon him, as well as a force of 2,000 janissaries. Hayreddin captured the whole region between Constantine and Oran with the help of this army (although the city of Oran remained in Spanish hands until 1791).

Hayreddin’s son Hasan was the next beylerbey, taking over in 1544. Until 1587, the region was ruled by officials who served for indefinite periods. Following the establishment of a formal Ottoman government, governors with the title of pasha reigned for three years. The pasha was aided by janissaries, called as the ojaq in Algeria and commanded by Ana gha. Because they were not paid on a regular basis, the ojaq became dissatisfied in the mid-1600s and rebelled against the pasha many times. As a consequence, in 1659, the agha accused the pasha with corruption and ineptitude and took control.

The plague has frequently hit North African towns. In 1620–21, Algiers lost 30,000–50,000 people to the plague, and it experienced significant mortality in 1654–57, 1665, 1691, and 1740–42.

In 1671, the taifa revolted, assassinated the agha, and installed one of their own as ruler. The new leader was given the title dey. After 1689, the divan, a council of around sixty lords, was given the authority to choose the dey. The ojaq dominated it at initially, but by the 18th century, it had become the dey’s instrument. In 1710, the dey convinced the Sultan to acknowledge him and his successors as regent, replacing the pasha in that position, despite the fact that Algiers remained part of the Ottoman Empire.

In effect, the dey was a constitutional despot. The dey was elected for life, although fourteen of the twenty-nine deys were murdered during the system’s 159-year existence (1671–1830). Despite usurpation, military coups, and sometimes mob control, Ottomon government operations were surprisingly organized. Although the regency patronized tribal chieftains, it never had the unqualified support of the countryside, where harsh taxes often sparked rebellion. In the Kabylie, autonomous tribe states were allowed, and the regency’s power was seldom used.

In the western Mediterranean Sea, Barbary pirates preyed on Christian and other non-Islamic ships. Passengers and crew were often taken aboard ships by pirates and sold or exploited as slaves. They also did well by ransoming some of the prisoners. According to Robert Davis, pirates kidnapped 1 million to 1.25 million Europeans as slaves from the 16th to the 19th centuries. They often conducted Razzia attacks on European coastal cities in order to abduct Christian captives for sale in slave markets in North Africa and the Ottoman Empire.

Hayreddin conquered the island of Ischia in 1544, capturing 4,000 captives and enslaving 9,000 Lipari residents, almost the whole population. Turgut Reis enslaved the whole inhabitants of the Maltese island of Gozo in 1551, enslaving between 5,000 and 6,000 people and transporting them to Libya. Pirates attacked Vieste in southern Italy in 1554, taking an estimated 7,000 prisoners as slaves.

Barbary corsairs seized Ciutadella (Minorca) in 1558, devastated it, killed its people, and transported 3,000 survivors as slaves to Istanbul. Barbary pirates often raided the Balearic Islands, prompting the inhabitants to construct many coastal watchtowers and fortified churches. The danger was so serious that inhabitants of Formentera fled the island.

Between 1609 and 1616, England suffered 466 commercial ship losses at the hands of Barbary pirates.

In July 1627, two Algiers pirate ships raided and captured slaves as far as Iceland. Another pirate ship from Salé, Morocco, had attacked Iceland two weeks before. Some of the slaves sent to Algiers were subsequently ransomed and returned to Iceland, while others opted to remain in Algeria. Algerian pirate ships attacked the Faroe Islands in 1629.

Pirates formed alliances with Caribbean nations in the nineteenth century, paying a “license fee” in return for safe port for their ships. From 1785 through 1793, the Algerians enslaved 130 American sailors in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, according to one American slave.

Piracy against American ships in the Mediterranean prompted the United States to launch the First (1801–1805) and Second Barbary Wars (1815). Following those battles, Algeria was weakened, and Europeans invaded Algiers with an Anglo-Dutch navy led by the British Lord Exmouth. Following a nine-hour bombardment, they secured a treaty with the Dey that reiterated the terms set by Decatur (US naval) about tribute demands. Furthermore, the Dey promised to put a stop to the practice of enslaving Christians.

French colonisation (1830–1962)

In 1830, the French attacked and conquered Algiers under the guise of a slight to their consul. When the French captured Algiers, the slave trade and piracy came to an end. The French conquest of Algeria took time and resulted in significant bloodshed. Between 1830 and 1872, the indigenous Algerian population declined by almost one-third due to a mixture of violence and illness outbreaks. Algeria’s population grew from approximately 1.5 million in 1830 to over 11 million in 1960. The French government’s strategy was based on “civilizing” the nation. During the occupation, Algeria’s social fabric deteriorated; literacy rates fell. During this time, a tiny but powerful French-speaking indigenous aristocracy of Berbers, mainly Kabyles, emerged. As a result, the French authorities preferred the Kabyles. Approximately 80% of Indigenous Schools were built for Kabyles.

France governed the whole Mediterranean area of Algeria as an essential component and département of the country from 1848 until independence. Algeria, one of France’s longest-held overseas possessions, became a destination for hundreds of thousands of European immigrants, first as colons and then Pied-Noirs. 50,000 French citizens moved to Algeria between 1825 and 1847. These immigrants profited from the French government’s seizure of indigenous peoples’ communal land, as well as the use of modern agricultural methods, which expanded the quantity of fertile land. Many Europeans settled in Oran and Algiers, becoming the majority of the population in both towns by the early twentieth century.

Discontent among the Muslim community, who lacked political and economic standing in the colonial system, gradually gave birth to calls for greater political autonomy, and ultimately independence from France. Tensions between the two populations reached a boiling point in 1954, when the first violent events of what became known as the Algerian War started. Historians believe that the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) or lynch mobs murdered between 30,000 and 150,000 Harkis and their dependents in Algeria. The FLN employed hit-and-run assaults in Algeria and France as part of its war strategy, and the French retaliated harshly. Hundreds of thousands of Algerians were killed and hundreds of thousands were injured as a result of the conflict.

The struggle against French sovereignty ended in 1962, when Algeria achieved full independence as a result of the March 1962 Evian accords and the July 1962 vote on self-determination.

The first three decades of independence (1962–1991)

Between 1962 and 1964, more than 900,000 European Pied-Noirs left Algeria. After the Oran massacre in 1962, when hundreds of militants invaded European parts of the city and started assaulting residents, the migration to mainland France intensified.

Ahmed Ben Bella, the head of Algeria’s Front de Libération Nationale (FLN), was the country’s first president. Morocco’s claim to western Algeria sparked the Sand War in 1963. Houari Boumediene, a former ally and defense minister, deposed Ben Bella in 1965. The government had grown more socialist and dictatorial under Ben Bella, and Boumédienne maintained this tendency. However, he depended much more on the army for backing, reducing the only legal party to a symbolic role. He nationalized agriculture and embarked on a major industrialisation push. Nationalization of oil extraction facilities This was particularly useful to the leadership after the 1973 worldwide oil crisis.

Algeria undertook an industrialization program inside a state-controlled socialist economy throughout the 1960s and 1970s under President Houari Boumediene. Chadli Bendjedid, Boumediene’s successor, instituted some liberal economic reforms. He advocated an Arabisation agenda in Algerian society and public life. Arabic teachers coming in from other Muslim nations propagated traditional Islamic thinking in schools, sowing the seeds of a return to Orthodox Islam.

Algeria’s economy grew more reliant on oil, resulting in hardship when prices fell during the 1980s oil glut. During the 1980s, Algerian civil unrest was exacerbated by an economic crisis induced by a drop in global oil prices; by the end of the decade, Bendjedid had implemented a multi-party system. Political parties arose, including the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), a wide alliance of Muslim organizations.

Civil War (1991–2002) and aftermath

The Islamic Salvation Front won the first of two rounds of parliamentary elections in December 1991. The authorities interfered on 11 January 1992, canceling the polls, fearing the establishment of an Islamist administration. Bendjedid resigned, and a High Council of State was formed to serve as the Presidency. It outlawed the FIS, sparking a civil war between the Front’s armed branch, the Armed Islamic Group, and the national armed forces that killed more than 100,000 people. Islamist terrorists carried out a bloody campaign of innocent killings. The situation in Algeria became a source of international concern at various times throughout the war, most notably during the crisis involving the hijacking of Air France Flight 8969 by the Armed Islamic Group. In October 1997, the Armed Islamic Group announced a cease-fire.

Algeria conducted elections in 1999, which were deemed skewed by foreign observers and the majority of opposition parties, and won by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. He worked to restore political stability in the country and announced a ‘Civil Concord’ initiative, which was approved in a referendum, under which many political prisoners were pardoned and several thousand members of armed groups were granted immunity from prosecution under a limited amnesty, which was in effect until January 13, 2000. The AIS was dissolved, and rebel violence dropped precipitously. The Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédiction et le Combat (GSPC), a breakaway organization of the Groupe Islamic Armée, carried out a terrorist campaign against the government.

Bouteflika was re-elected president in April 2004 after running on a national reconciliation platform. The program included economic, institutional, political, and social reforms aimed at modernizing the country, raising living conditions, and addressing the root reasons of estrangement. It also contained a second amnesty proposal, the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation, which was passed in a vote in September 2005. It granted amnesty to the majority of insurgents and government security personnel.

Following a decision in Parliament, the Algerian Constitution was modified in November 2008, eliminating the two-term restriction on Presidential incumbents. Because of this amendment, Bouteflika was allowed to run for re-election in the 2009 presidential elections, and he was re-elected in April 2009. During his campaign and after his re-election, Bouteflika pledged to prolong the national reconciliation program and a $150 billion expenditure plan to generate three million new jobs, build one million new housing units, and continue public sector and infrastructure modernization programs.

On December 28, 2010, a series of demonstrations throughout the nation began, inspired by previous uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. Algeria’s 19-year-old state of emergency was ended on February 24, 2011. The administration passed laws governing political parties, the electoral code, and women’s participation in elected entities. Bouteflika pledged further constitutional and political reforms in April 2011. Elections, however, are regularly condemned as unfair by opposition parties, and international human rights organizations claim that media restrictions and persecution of political opponents persist.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Algeria

Stay Safe in Algeria

While 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. Sporadic episodes of civil unrest have been known to occur.Additionally, there is the threat of bandits and an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group (AQIM or al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb) in the south. While much of their activity has been in neighbouring Mali & Niger, the situation in southern Algeria has grown worse. Islamist rebels in northern Mali are easily capable of crossing the porous Saharan border into Southern Algeria such as when al Qaeda-backed terrorists attacked an oil field in January 2013, taking dozens of Westerners hostage. Militants affiliated to ISIL (also known as ISIS or Daesh), another terrorist organisation, also operate in the country, and are fiercely hostile to Western countries. A French national was kidnapped and later beheaded by these militants in 2014.Some routes in the Sahara may require vehicles to travel only in military/police-escorted convoys for safety.

Absolutely no attempt should be made to travel overland to Mali or Niger! Southern Algeria should also be considered too dangerous for tourism as the conflict in Mali rages and radical Islamists flock to the region.

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 Algeria

Localized power outages are common in Algiers, causing refrigerated goods to spoil. Since a result, you should exercise extreme caution while dining out, as the risk of food contamination is always there ‘even in family eateries.’

Mosquitoes are likewise a nuisance in Algeria, but since malaria is uncommon, ‘they don’t transmit illnesses.’ Mosquitoes are sprayed on a regular basis across cities.

Do not anticipate particularly high water quality; instead of drinking tap water, purchase bottles of water; they are inexpensive at DZD30 for 2L, thus 5L of clean water costs less than USD1.

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Algiers

Algiers is Algeria’s capital and biggest city. The population of the city was predicted to be approximately 3,500,000 in 2011. The population of the...