Algeria is a North African country with a Mediterranean coastline and a Saharan desert interior.
The official name of the country is the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.
It is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory, Mauritania, and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea.
Algeria has two official languages: Arabic and Berber.
As of 1 January 2017, the population of Algeria was estimated to be 40,822,449 people.
With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 square miles), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, and the largest in Africa.
Algiers is the capital and largest city of Algeria. It is located on the Mediterranean Sea and in the north-central portion of Algeria.
Algeria’s landscape consists mostly of high plateaus and the Sahara Desert; in fact, over 80% of the country is covered by the Sahara. The Atlas mountains sit to the north, and the Ahaggar Massif is southeast.
Mount Tahat is the highest mountain peak in Algeria. It sits at an elevation of 2,908 meters (9,541 feet).
Algeria has 998 kilometers (620 miles) of coastline.
Algeria has a great variety of beaches to explore, each with their own distinctive features and attractions.
There are 10 national parks in Algeria.
El Kala National Park is one of the national parks of Algeria, in the extreme north-east of the country. It is home to several lakes and a unique ecosystem in the Mediterranean basin, it was created in 1983 and recognized as a biosphere reserve by the UNESCO in 1990.
Algeria has 7 UNESCO world heritage sites.
Beni Hammad Fort, also called Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad is a fortified palatine city in Algeria. Now in ruins, in the 11th century, it served as the first capital of the Hammadid dynasty. In 1980, it was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and described as “an authentic picture of a fortified Muslim city”.
Timgad was a Roman-Berber town in the Aurès Mountains of Algeria. It was founded by the Emperor Trajan around AD 100. Timgad was intended to serve primarily as a bastion against the Berbers in the nearby Aures Mountains. It was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982.
Notre Dame d’Afrique (Our Lady of Africa) is a Roman Catholic basilica in Algiers the capital of Algeria. It was Louis-Antoine-Augustin Pavy, who served as the Bishop of Algiers from 1846 to 1866, who paved the way for its construction. The basilica was inaugurated in 1872, after fourteen years of construction.
The Botanical Garden of Hamma also known as the Jardin d’Essai du Hamma is a 58-hectare (140-acre) botanical garden (38 hectares (94 acres) of gardens and 20 hectares (49 acres) of arboretum) located in the Mohamed Belouizdad (formerly Hamma-Anassers) district of Algiers. It was established in 1832.
The Ketchaoua Mosque is a mosque in Algiers, the capital of Algeria. It is located at the foot of the Casbah, which was built during the Ottoman rule in the 17th century, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mosque that stands on the first of the Casbah’s many steep stairways, was logistically and symbolically the cynosure of the pre-colonial city of Algiers.
The Maqam Echahid or Martyrs’ Memorial in English is an iconic concrete monument commemorating the Algerian war for independence. The monument was opened in 1982 on the 20th anniversary of Algeria’s independence. It is fashioned in the shape of three standing palm leaves which shelter the “Eternal Flame” beneath. At the edge of each palm leaf stands a statue of a soldier, each representing a stage of Algeria’s struggle.
Evidence of the early human occupation of Algeria is demonstrated by the discovery of 1.8 million year old Oldowan stone tools found at Ain Hanech in 1992.
In 1954 fossilised Homo erectus bones were discovered by C. Arambourg at Ternefine that are 700,000 years old.
Phoenician traders settled on the Mediterranean coast in the 1st millennium BC.
As ancient Numidia, Algeria became a Roman colony, part of what was called Mauretania Caesariensis, at the close of the Punic Wars (145 BC). [Photo below: Ruins of a Roman colony – Timgad]
Conquered by the Vandals about 440 AD, it fell from a high state of civilization to virtual barbarism, from which it partly recovered after an invasion by Arabs about 650.
Christian during its Roman period, the indigenous Berbers were then converted to Islam.
Falling under the control of the Ottoman Empire by 1536, Algiers served for three centuries as the headquarters of the Barbary pirates.
Ostensibly to rid the region of the pirates, the French occupied Algeria in 1830 and made it a part of France in 1848.
Algerian independence movements led to the uprisings of 1954–1955, which developed into full-scale war.
The Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962), brutal and long, was the most recent major turning point in the country’s history. Over a million Algerians were killed in the war.
In 1962, French president Charles de Gaulle began the peace negotiations, and on July 5, 1962, Algeria was proclaimed independent.
Algeria is classified as an upper middle income country by the World Bank.
The economy and industry of Algeria are dominated by the extraction and processing of oil and gas products. These make up more than 95% of Algeria’s export revenues and contribute to two-thirds of the country’s spending budget.
According to OPEC Algeria has the 16th largest oil reserves in the world and the second largest in Africa, while it has the 9th largest reserves of natural gas.
Algeria has one of the largest militaries in Africa and the largest defence budget on the continent; most of Algeria’s weapons are imported from Russia, with whom they are a close ally.
More than 90 percent of Algerians live along the Mediterranean coastlands on only 12 percent of the country’s land.
Algeria has two Nobel Prize recipients Albert Camus (Literature 1957) and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (Physics, 1997).
Camus played as goalkeeper in the football team for the University of Algiers, which may therefore be the world’s only university to have had a Nobel Prize-winning goalkeeper in its team.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Algeria was 51 °C (123.8 °F) in August 2011.
The national animal of Algeria is the Fennec fox and their national football team is named after the animal: “Les Fennecs”. Football is the most popular sport in Algeria.
Algerian cuisine is rich and diverse. The country was considered as the “granary of Rome”. It offers a component of dishes and varied dishes, depending on the region and according to the seasons.