Algeria is located in northern Africa and is bound by the Mediterranean Sea to the north. It is the largest country in Africa and bears a rich cultural heritage. The cities are a living proof of Algerian history over the ages. The following are the major cities along with the places of interest.
Algiers is the capital and the largest city of Algeria. The city also known as Al-Jazair houses a population of 3,574,000. It is famous for its pristine white buildings that have earned it the name of Algar la Blanche. It has an excellent mild Mediterranean climate. The new part of the city is close to the flat sea shore and the old part was the seat of Ottoman Empire. The old part is famous for the Qasba built on the Phoenician ruins of Icosium. The labyrinthine Qasba formed an indispensable part of the Algerian struggle for independence. It holds the famous 17th century mosques of Ketchaoua, El Kébir, and El Djedid. The Martyrs’ Memorial inaugurated in 1982 attracts tourists all the year round. The Park of Galland, the Crowned Heart, and Didouche Mourade are replete with pubs, restaurants, and modern shopping centers.
Oran is also known as Wahran and is the second largest city of Algeria. It is also the second largest port. the foundations of Oran were laid by Andalusian merchants in 10th century. It is situated in north-western Algeria at a distance of 273 miles from Algiers. It has a population of 7, 59,645. French influence dominates the architecture of the city which can be studied in Dar-el-Bahia, Le Théâtre, Cathédrale de Sacré Coeur, or Palais de la Culture. The Demaeght Museum of Oran is the house of archaeological artifacts excavated in the Maghreb region. It also serves as a museum of natural history. Oran is also the site of the Great Mosque built by Bey Mohamed El Kebir in 1795 to commemorate victory over the Spanish. The Petit Lac serves as a site for water sports and is being developed to take on more tourists each year
Constantine is located in north-eastern Algeria at a distance of 250 miles from Algiers. It is situated on the banks of Rhumel River on the Plateau du Monsoura, about 650m above sea level. It is the third largest city of Algeria ans home to a population of 4,48,374. The people of Constantine are mostly of Berber or Arab origins. The city has a number of bridges owing to its rocky landscape. It is the site of Gustave Mercier Museum, a house of arts, both ancient and modern. Other places of interest include the Abd al Hamid Ben Badis Mosque, The Soumma Mausoleum, Massinissa’s Mausoleum, and the Palace of Ahmes Bey. The city’s Roman heritage is reflected in the ruins of the Antonian Roman aqueduct and the city of Tiddis at a small distance from Constantine.
Annaba is the fourth largest city of Algeria housing about 257,359 inhabitants. It is about 326 miles from Algiers. It is a coastal city located near the river Seybouse. It was founded by Carthaginians and was an early seat of Christianity, the Episcopal see of St. Augustine. It is the site of the ruins of the ancient Phoenician city of Hippo Regius. It has long and dry summers and mild winters. The Bone War Cemetery containing the graves of 868 World War II casualties is in Annaba. The city is known for the El Hadjar steelworks which has transformed the city into a major industrial and commercial hub. The 11th century mosque of Sidi Bou Merouan is an important tourist destination in Annaba. Other places of interest include the Cathedral and the Basilica of St. Augustine.
Situated in north-central Algeria, Ghardaia is the chief town of the M’zab Oasis. The city is built around a cave believed to have been inhabited by a female saint Däia about 1000 years ago. Located at a distance of 371 miles from Algiers it is inhabited by 82,500 people. The temperature here varies from 0˚C to 46˚C owing to its location within the Sahara Desert. Ghardaia is known for date production and its typical coarse black and white carpets made of goat fur. The place offers umpteen opportunities for appreciating Berber architecture and is a part of the UNESCO World heritage Sites. It is famous for “Day Mehr” where people irrespective of their nationality are free to participate in a camel race.
Tamanraseet is located in southern Algeria in the Hoggar highlands in the central Sahara Desert. It was a major center on the trans-Saharan trade routes. It is located at a distance of 1220 miles from Algiers. Tamanrasset is home to about 76,000 people of which Touaregs form a major portion. It is, however, infamous for being the seat of Al-Qaeda, a terrorist outfit. Touareg artifacts and jewelry are easily available in local souqs for enthusiastic buyers.
Tlemcent is located in north-western Algeria at a distance of 346 miles from Algiers. The city is situated in the fertile plains of Maghnia and Hennaya. These plains ensure the abundance of olive plantations and vineyards in Tlemcen. It has a population of 1,40,000. The city exhibits a seamless blend of Berber, Andalusian, Islamic and French cultures. It is the site of the Mosque of Sīdé bel Hassan built in 1296. It also houses the grotto of Rabbi Ephraim ben Israel Ankawa commissioned in the 15th century. It is a major trade center dealing with agricultural produce.
Jijel is home to a population of 1,48,000, and is situated in north-eastern Algeria, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The population is mostly comprised of Arabs and Kabylies. It is about 188 miles away from Algiers. Owing to closeness to sea it is a major commercial fishing center and port. The surrounding cork-oak forests support the cork processing industry in Jijel. The region also produces citrus fruits and food grains. It is a major domestic mass tourism destination on account of its beaches and varying landscapes.
Other important towns of Algeria include: Tebessa, Chlef, Guelma, Setif, Djemila, and so on.
- Tebessa:It is a major carpet production center and has phosphate mines.
- Chlef: It has the Basilica of St. Repartus and the Roman citadel of Castellum Tingitanum.
- Guelma: It is located at a distance of 65kms from the Mediterranean Sea and is a major industrial center.
- Setif: It is the coldest region of Algeria experiencing a snowfall of about 40cms.
- Djemila: It is a small village of about 0.3 sq km and the site of the ruins of the Roman city of Cuicul.