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Where is Algeria ?
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Known officially as the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, Algeria is the largest country in the Arab world and Africa taking land area into consideration and situated in Northwest Africa.

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Officially adopted on 3rd July 1962, Algerian Flag is consists of two vertical bands of green and white color which stand for natural beauty and peace respectively of equal width and a star and crescent at the center which symbolizes Islam.

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Algeria- An Introduction:
Algeria situated in Northern Africa is the largest country of the continent, spread across an area of 919,595  sq mi. Algeria shares borders with Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, and Niger. To its southwest is the disputed territory of Western Sahara and the north frontiers are washed by the Mediterranean Sea.

According to the Algerian Office of National Statistics the total population of Algeria is 38,481,705 out of which 24,486,000 live in major cities like Algiers or Oran. About 70% of the population is literate in Algeria which includes 6% of the entire female population. The country is known for its delectable cuisine which varies with region and seasons.

Background:
Algeria has been the scene of human activity as early as 10,000BC. This is suggested by the Neolithic paintings depicting scenes of hunting found in caves around Tassili n’ Ajjer. The early nomadic tribes foraging the region were called Berbers whose descendants still form a vital part of the Algerian population. Berbers were pushed away from the coast by Phoenician invaders in 1000 BC. The Phoenician army is said to have comprised of a sizeable chunk of Berbers who revolted owing to the nonpayment of dues. The several defeats of Carthage in the Punic Wars led to the Roman occupation of Algeria around 146 BC. Algeria also became a seat of Donatism, a sect of Christianity in 364 AD. The Roman stronghold finally collapsed in 429 AD due to East Germanic Vandal invasions. The Vandals were followed by the conquistadors under the Umayyad caliphate who introduced Islam in the region. By 702 AD Algeria was completely under the Arab despots. The famous Barbary pirate Barbarossa captured Algiers for the Ottoman Turks. The rest of history is a gory tale of wars and conquests till the French occupied it in 1830. In 1954 was launched the Algerian War of Independence. Algeria was finally independent on July 5, 1962.

Economy: 
Algerian economy is largely under state control. It has a GDP of $325.0 billion (2012 est.) and real growth rate of 2.9%. It has a labour force of 11.13 million out of which 9.1% is unemployed. 23% of the population lives below the poverty line despite having a per capita income of $7,200.

The Eastern Sahara region is rich in petroleum and natural gas. Hydrocarbons have kept the Algerian economy aloft by contributing nearly 30% of GDP. The country earns over 97% of its export revenues from the hydrocarbon sector alone. Crude oil and natural gas are mainly exported to Italy, Germany, France, Nederland, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.

The agricultural sector is underdeveloped and contributes only 8.1% to the GDP. 14% of the labour force is employed in this sector. Only 3% of land is fit for food cultivation. Hence, 45% of food is imported. Commercial fishing in the Mediterranean Sea is a rare practice. The herdsmen in Algeria practice livestock rearing.

There is a serious lack of industrial diversification in Algeria. Concentrating largely on the hydrocarbons sector, other industries like agriculture, tourism, and banking sectors have suffered serious neglect. Reforms are, however, underway with Algeria signing the Association Agreement with European Union for all round political, social, and economic developments.

Travel and Tourism:
Algeria with its rich history and varied landscape provides ample choice for tourism. Cities like Algiers, Djemila, Tlemcen, Tamanrasset, and so on are excellent tourist destinations. The tourism industry is largely under performing owing to poor infrastructure and terrorism. The tourism sector contributes only 1% to the nation’s GDP but there has been a 20% increase in foreign visitors to the nation over the last few years. The Horizon 2025 plan aims at revamping roads and transportation, restructuring hotels, and improvising the nature of services provided. It is estimated that after the successful execution of the plan, the number of tourists visiting Algeria would rise to 3 million or more each year.

Art and Culture:
The art and culture of Algeria reflects an inseparable blend of Arab, Berber, and French cultures. It is a land of hospitable people who specialize in various arts. These include crafting intricate jewelry using local coral and semi-precious stones, also impeccably ornate copper, and brassware. Algerians are deft in carpet weaving and creating handmade ceramics and pottery. Algerian literature teems with famous poets like Moufdi Zakaria and Achour Fenni. It is the home of famous novelists like Albert Camus, Kateb Yacine and Mohammed Dib. Music in Algeria is of three kinds - Rai, Shaabi, and Andalusi music. The Rai has its roots in folk music and has been popularized in the outside world by exponents like Cheb Mami and Khaled. Shaabi is generally approved by the older generation. Andalusi music caters to more classical tastes.

Cinema indigenous to Algeria with postcolonial themes was born in 1962. Most renowned movies of the country include Z, Chronicle of the Year of Fire, and The Battle of Algiers. Mohamed Racim, Mohamed Temam, and Bachir Yelles form the new wave of artists representing Algeria on the international platform.

Algeria is known for its gourmet fares. The delectable array of food ranges from the staple couscous to Rechta, Shakshouka, Berkoukes to include a variety of cakes like Chirk, Makroud, Samsa, Khfaf and so on.

Last Updated On : April 23, 2013



Facts about Algeria
Official Name The People?s Democratic Republic of Algeria (al-Jumhuriyyah al-Jaza'iriyyah ad-Dimuqratiyyah ash-Sha
ContinentAfrica
Lat Long36°42'N3°13'E
CapitalAlgiers
Largest CityAlgiers
Official LanguageArabic (official), Berber, Turkish, French, Korandje
Major ReligionIslam, Christianity, Judaism
National day5-July
Form of GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential republic
PresidentAbdelaziz Bouteflika
Prime MinisterAbdelmalek Sellal
CurrencyAlgerian Dinar (DZD)
GDP$325.0 billion (2012 est.)
Calling code213
Time ZoneCET (UTC+01)
Internet TLD.dz