Algiers was therefore only the beginning of something that was in development: this is why I say that it’s the global capitalist system that finally reacted against us.
~Ahmed Ben Bella
Algiers is the capital city and largest city of Algeria in North Africa. Algiers is situated on the west side of a bay of the Mediterranean Sea. The modern part of the city is built on the level ground by the seashore; the old part, the ancient city of the deys, climbs the steep hill behind the modern town and is crowned by the casbah or citadel.
Algiers has first settled over 1000 years ago and has now grown to a large city with a metropolitan population of over 3 million. It has also been marred by violence in the past decade. It is known locally as El-Djazaïr and the residents speak Berber, Arabic, and French.
In the capital city, most of the interesting sights are in the old part of the city known as the Casbah or Medina. The travelers that do make it to Algiers are impressed with the very friendly and hospitable people. The old French buildings, the promenade along the seafront and the food also get good ratings.
History of Algiers
Many people feel that Algiers has always been regarded as the “red-headed step-sister” of New Orleans. During its independence from 1840 to 1870, It was governed by a Police Jury but was annexed to the City in 1870, a move that still has its opponents to this day!
The present-day city was founded in 944 by Bologhine ibn Ziri, the founder of the Berber Zirid–Sanhaja dynasty. He had earlier (935) built his own house and a Sanhaja center at Ashir, just south of Algiers. Although his Zirid dynasty was overthrown by Roger II of Sicily in 1148, the Zirids had already lost control of the city to their cousins the Hammadids in 1014.
In October 1541 in the Algiers expedition, the King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V sought to capture the city, but a storm destroyed a great number of his ships, and his army of some 30,000, chiefly made up of Spaniards, was defeated by the Algerians under their Pasha, Hassan.
A significant number of renegades lived in the city at the time, Christians converted voluntarily to Islam, many fleeing the law or other problems at home. Once converted to Islam, they were safe in Algiers.
Algeria achieved independence on July 5, 1962. Run by the FLN that had secured independence, Algiers became a member of Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War. In 1989, a new constitution was adopted that put an end to the one-party rule and saw the creation of more than fifty political parties, as well as official freedom of the press.
Top Destinations in Algiers
- CMuseum of Popular Arts & Traditions
- Dar Hassan Pacha
- Djemaa Ketchoua
- Grande Poste
- Jardin d’Essai
- National Museum of Antiquities
- Palais des Raïs