ALGIERS

Introduction

Info Algiers


introduction

Algiers is the capital and largest city of Algeria. In 2011, the city's population was estimated to be around 3,500,000. An estimate puts the population of the larger metropolitan city to be around 5,000,000. Algiers is located on the Mediterranean Sea and in the north-central portion of Algeria.

While downtown Algiers looks modern, the capital is struggling to keep up with rapid growth. The standard of living for many of its population is poor. Algiers has also been marred by violence in the past decade. A civil war which started in 1991 destroyed much of the country. In recent times things (in Algiers at least) have returned to normal. Substantial reconstruction of the infrastructure has taken place and is still ongoing.

Algiers is known locally as El-Djazaïr and the residents speak Berber, Arabic and French.

Algiers is not considered a popular tourist destination and the US State Department does warn against travel to certain other parts of the country. In Algiers, 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 many old French buildings, the promenade along the seafront and the food also get good ratings.


info
POPULATION : City: 3,415,811  /  Metro: 5,000,000
FOUNDED : 
TIME ZONE : CET (UTC+1)  
LANGUAGE : Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects
RELIGION : Sunni Muslim  99%, Christian and Jewish 1%
AREA : 363 km2 (140 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 2 m (7 ft) - 424 m (1,391 ft)
COORDINATES : 36°46′N 3°13′E
SEX RATIO : Male: 50.55% 
 Female: 49.45%
ETHNIC : Arabic-speaking background 53%, Berber-speaking background 44%, Others 3%
AREA CODE : 21
POSTAL CODE : 16000–16132
DIALING CODE : +213 21
WEBSITE :


Tourism

Algiers is not considered a popular tourist destination and the US State Department does warn against travel to certain other parts of the country. In Algiers, 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 many old French buildings, the promenade along the seafront and the food also get good ratings.

Some 20 km (12 mi) to the west of Algiers are such seaside resorts as Sidi Fredj (ex-Sidi Ferruch), Palm Beach, Douaouda, Zéralda, and the Club of the Pines (residence of State); there are tourist complexes, Algerian and other restaurants, souvenir shops, supervised beaches, and other amenities. The city is also equipped with important hotel complexes such as the hotel Hilton, El-Aurassi or El Djazair. Algiers also has the first water park in the country. The tourism of Algiers is growing but is not as developed as that of the larger cities in Morocco or Tunisia.


History

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.

As early as 1302 the islet of Peñón in front of Algiers harbour had been occupied by Spaniards. Thereafter, a considerable amount of trade began to flow between Algiers and Spain.

In 1516, the amir of Algiers, Selim b. Teumi, invited the corsair brothers Aruj and Hayreddin Barbarossa to expel the Spaniards. Aruj came to Algiers, ordered the assassination of Selim, and seized the town and ousted the Spanish in the Capture of Algiers (1516). Hayreddin, succeeding Aruj after the latter was killed in battle against the Spaniards in the Fall of Tlemcen (1517), was the founder of the pashaluk, which subsequently became the beylik, of Algeria. Barbarossa lost Algiers in 1524 but regained it with the Capture of Algiers (1529), and then formally invited the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent to accept sovereignty over the territory and to annex Algiers to the Ottoman Empire.

Algiers from this time became the chief seat of the Barbary pirates. 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.

The history of Algiers from 1830 to 1962 is bound to the larger history of Algeria and its relationship to France. On July 4, 1830, under the pretext of an affront to the French consul—whom the dey had hit with a fly-whisk when the consul said the French government was not prepared to pay its large outstanding debts to two Algerian merchants—a French army under General de Bourmont attacked the city in the 1830 invasion of Algiers. The city capitulated the following day. Algiers became the capital of French Algeria.Many Europeans settled in Algiers, and by the early 20th century they formed a majority of the city's population.

During World War II, Algiers was the last city to be seized from the Germans by the Allies during Operation Torch.

In 1962, after a bloody independence struggle in which hundreds of thousands (estimates range between 350,000 to 1,500,000) died (mostly Algerians but also French and Pieds-Noirs) during fighting between the French Army and the Algerian Front de Libération Nationale, Algeria gained its independence, with Algiers as its capital.

The city became the theatre of many political demonstrations of all descriptions until 1992. In 1991, a political entity dominated by religious conservatives called the Islamic Salvation Front engaged in a political test of wills with the authorities. In the 1992 elections for the Algerian National Assembly, the Islamists garnered a large amount of support in the first round, helped by a massive abstention from disillusioned Algerian voters by the turn of events. Fearing an eventual win by the Islamists, the army cancelled the election process, setting off a civil war between the State and armed religious conservatives which would last for a decade.


Climate

Algiers has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. 

Its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea aids in moderating the city's temperatures. As a result, Algiers usually does not see the extreme temperatures that are experienced in the adjacent interior deserts.


Economy

Algiers is an important economic, commercial and financial center, with in particular a stock exchange with a capitalisation of 60 million euros. The city has the highest cost of living of any city in North Africa.

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