50 Fascinating Facts about Algeria

Algeria is located on North Africa's Mediterranean coast and is the largest country Africa. It is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia and Libya, to the west by Morocco, the Western Saharan territory and Mauritania, and to the south by Mali and Niger. The Mediterranean Sea lines the northern coast of Algeria, providing a gateway to Europe. However, the Sahara desert also covers a huge part of the country. The northern city of Algiers is the country's capital and most populous city with more than 3.5 million residents, while the country as a whole has approximately 40 million residents. Algeria's long history and strategic geographic position means that many empires have left behind remains of their rule. Roman ruins can be found in the seaside city of Tipaza, and there are also many Ottoman and French colonial landmarks. Algeria's tourism sector has had major developments since the early 2000s, and it's proximity to Europe and modern road network makes it more accessible than many other parts of Africa. There are a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Algeria, including Al Qal'a of Beni Hammad (the first capital of the Hammadid empire), Tipasa (a former Phoenician and later Roman town) and Djémila and Timgad, both Roman ruins. The major languages in Algeria are Arabic, French and Berber, and its currency is the Dinar. A Democratic Republic, Algeria's motto is "By the people and for the people."

Algeria Facts

1
Algeria is the tenth largest country in the world and became the largest country in Africa after South Sudan split from Sudan in 2011.
2
The national animal of Algeria is the Fennec Fox
3
Algeria has taken part in every Olympic Games since 1964 and has won a total of 17 medals in total in that time, 5 of which are Gold.
4
Only 12% of Algeria’s land mass is inhabited, as 90% of the country is the Sahara Desert.
5
Women in Algeria, in total, contribute a larger amount to household incomes than men.
6
The French Foreign Legion used to be based in Algeria, it being one of France’s colonies, but once it gained independence in 1962, they made their base back on mainland France.
7
Traditionally when you have a meal at an Algerian home, you should leave a little of your food on the plate at the end as it shows your host was able to amply feed you.
8
National Day on 1st November is known as Revolution Day, as that is when they finally won their bid for independence from France.
9
Do not point at people or objects, as it is considered rude, and if handing something to someone, you must do it with your right hand or both hands, never just the left hand.
10
Algeria has some of the largest reserves of natural gas and is one of the main suppliers to Europe.
11
Algeria is one of the countries that the nomadic Berber people frequent, along with neighbouring Morocco, Tunisia and Libya, the Berber (Tamazight) language is now recognised as an official language of the country.
12
Two Algerian films have been entered in the foreign language films category for the Oscars - Outside the Law and Chronicle of the Years of Fire, which also won the Palme D’Or award in Cannes in 1975.
13
Visitors to Algeria are traditionally greeted with a gift of dates and milk.
14
Between the 16th and 18th century, Algeria took part in the Barbary Slave Trade, which was engaged in capturing Europeans and selling as slaves in North Africa.
15
Part of the Algerian character is that they are formal and courteous and don’t appreciate direct and frank talk.
16
Some of the biggest sand dunes in the world are located in Algeria. The Isouane-n-Tifernine sand of sea, has dunes with an estimated height of 465 meters and 5 kilometres long.
17
Tassilli National Park in Algeria has pre-historic rock drawings and Neolithic archaeological sites.
18
Out of all African countries Algeria has the highest cost of living.
19
The Nobel Prize winner for Literature, Albert Camus was born here.
20
The currency used in Algeria is the Algerian Dinar.
21
During French colonisation of Algiers, it became one of the biggest exporters of French Wine!
22
The Algerian flag’s colours are representative of the Islam faith (Green), Purity (White) and Spilt blood to gain independence (red).
23
The Botanical Garden of Hamma in Algeria, is where the scene of Tarzan making his trademark call before rescuing Jane was filmed for the original 1932 Black and White Film.
24
The highest mountain in Algeria is Mount Tahat, in the Aghaggar mountains.
25
The national football team is nicknamed Les Fennics, after the national animal the Fennic Fox.
26
One of the founder fathers of Christianity - St Augustine of Hippo (354-430), was born in Tagaste (now called Souk Ahras) in Algeria.
27
Algiers has a stunning Roman Catholic Basilica - Notre Dame d’Afrique (Our Lady of Africa), not only is a great building, it is on the top of cliffs overlooking the sea, so the views from it are fantastic too.
28
Due to the hilly nature of the country, cable cars are a popular mode of transport. So much so that there is a government department that covers the planning and maintenance of them.
29
One food delicacy that has become legendary is chick pea stew, which you will find in the Constantine region of the country.
30
The national dish of Algeria is Couscous.
31
The Casbah (Citadel) of Algiers, could be where The Clash got the idea for their hit ‘Rock the Casbah’, as during the 1950s and 1960s this area was rife with freedom fighters and revolutionaries who were fighting against the French Occupation.
32
The capital city has its own metro system, styled on that of the French one, but not as extensive.
33
Timimoun, situated in the middle of the Sahara Desert, has a very similar look to that of Timbuktu in Mali. There is even a song, Timbuktu to Timimoun, which links the two by the Gnawa Diffusion, an Algerian Gnawa music band.
34
In Algeria, petrol is cheaper than water, but it is one of the main producers of oil.
35
Djemila is the site of probably the best Roman Ruins you will find in North Africa.
36
The huge post office in Algiers is quite a wonder, looking more like a palace and is a fine example of the French/Moorish colonial architecture.
37
In Algerian judiciary 70 percent of lawyers and 60 percent of judges are women.
38
Deglet Nour dates are considered some of the best dates in the world and are a major export for the country.
39
With a break from traditional Islam, the women in the settlement of Beni Isguen (A UNESCO world heritage site), only wear white instead of the usual black.
40
Algeria is called the country of ‘Cherries and Dates’, due to its diverse climates.
41
The Maqam Echahid Memorial is a recent addition to the skyline of Algiers. Opened in 1982 on the 20th anniversary of Algeria gaining independence, this iconic memorial is made of concrete and is said to be likened to three palm fronds which represent agriculture, culture and industry. It reaches a height of 92 metres.
42
Some of the highest temperatures in the world are recorded in Algeria, the highest to date was 123F (50C).
43
Well heeled Victorians used to spend their winters in Algeria, enjoying the gentle climate of the North Coast.
44
Deglet Nour dates are considered some of the best dates in the world and are a major export for the country.
45
Mint tea, or coffee with cardamom, are the national favourite drinks.
46
Algiers is often referred to as the White Lady of North Africa, due to its brilliant light and no doubt the large amount of large white colonial buildings which reflect it.
47
The longest river in the country is the Chelif River, which runs from the Sahara and empties into the Mediterranean Sea.
48
The author Edith Wharton, visited Algiers and used her experience there in a number of her written works.
49
The national dish of Algeria is couscous, often served with lamb, chicken or cooked vegetables.
50
Djama’a al-Kebir or Great Mosque, is one of the best preserved examples of Almoravid architecture and it is claimed it was built back in 1097.

This vast country with its lush northern coast and hot, dry deserts has much to offer. A rich history of many invaders has left an abundance of interesting sites some of them UNESCO World heritage sites such as the Casbah (Citadel) of Algiers and Timgad a Berber-Roman town believed to have been founded in 100 AD. The people are very hospitable and even though English is not widely spoken they will try and assist you if they can and if you are really lucky, you will get invited into their home for a tea or coffee, or even a steaming dish of couscous and really get a feel for this fascinating country.

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