One of the more than 50 countries that make up the African continent is Algeria, a land that has lived through everything throughout its history and that being in the cradle of our species keeps for us natural and archaeological treasures very important.
Algeria is a really big country, with mountains and fantastic coasts, so if you want to know more, delve into the past of this rich and interesting land, you should get on a plane and get to know it. What can be seen or what can be visited in Algeria? Let's see.
In principle we must recognize that the name of Algeria is inescapably linked to the French colonization and its brutality, to the civil war of the '90s and the tremendous cost of it, some 20 thousand lives. But we must go further.
Through the Algerian lands have passed the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman, pirate peoples and yes, the French too. That is why it is a melting pot of cultures and the gateway to mountains, beaches and deserts.
We said above that being in Africa their archeological sites They are very interesting, so hominid remains with more than two million years and also Homo Sapiens have been found. Also has ancient and valuable cave paintings and luckily today everything is protected within national parks. The point is that these treasures have ultimately survived the French colonial system as well.
The truth is that France has a pretty bloody chapter in Algeria. After the Second World War, a process of decolonization began in Asia and Africa, but in the case of the French colony of Algeria, France did not want to implement it and thus there was a rebellion that determined independence in 1962. History tells us that the French repression was very bloody and there are those who say that they ended up annihilating 15% of the Algerian population.
The most important city is Algiers, the capital. Much of its surface is desert, the famous Sahara desert, but there are also forests, steppes and some wetlands. What is your economy based on? Well, it has oil, silver, gas and a lot of fishing and agriculture activity. Obvious, the heart of its economy is oil and ranks 14th on the list of richest oil countries.
No matter what time of year you go, there is something for everyone because if you go in summer and it's hot there are beaches and if you like winter and want to see snow and ski, there are mountains. In the capital you have some recommended museums: The Bardo Museum It is about history and archeology and you will be able to see some of the cave paintings of the Tassili N'Aijer National Park, in the Sahara. There is also the Museum of Traditions and Popular Arts and National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and National Museum of Antiquities. Later, if you travel to other cities, try to see if there are museums because each one is particular.
Thus, in the port city of Cherchell you will see Roman and Greek antiquities and in the city of Constantine objects and sculptures from archaeological sites. Everywhere there are museums and getting to know them is a great way to get closer to the Algerian culture.
If you like archeology and history then there are seven declared World Heritage sites: la Kasbah of Algiers, The Berber cities of the Vall de M'zab, the ruins of the Qal'aa Beni Hammad fortress, the mountains of Tassili n'Anjer, with its cave paintings, and ruins of Djemila, Tipasa and Timgad.
The Djemila ruins take us back to the Roman presence in the area and if you are going to choose only one from the list, this is the best option. The ruins are very well preserved and stand out throughout North Africa. It was abandoned in the XNUMXth century and as you walk through its empty streets you can imagine what life was like there centuries ago. It also has a museum.
On the other hand, if you like outdoor activities and nature you have a handful of National parks: Chrea, Djurdjura, Ahaggar, Belezma, El Kala, Gouraya, Tassili n'Aijer, Taza and Tlemcen. Some are coastal parks (El Kala, Gourraya, Taza), others are between mountains (Belezma, Chrea, Belezma, among others), there are also parks in the steppes (Djebel Aissa) or in the Sahara (Tassili, l'Ahaggar). Nor is there a lack of nature reserves.
Knowing these places implies hiring tours in special agencies or directly at the hotel. You can sign up for excursions in 4 x4 trucks, walks through the Sahara, horseback riding camel rides. There is an especially beautiful area for trekking: Hoggar, with fabulous mountains, dunes with rock art and flora and fauna. The beauty of Algeria is wild because after all it is not a very developed country so I would say that it shines even more.
If you are Muslim you will want to visit mosques since Islam is the prevailing religion in the country. There are many but some are more important than others from a historical point of view. For example, the Great Mosque of Tiemcen, the Great Mosque of Algeria and the Ketchaoua, which is World Heritage according to UNESCO. If you are a Christian you can visit a Catholic church that is beautiful because it is on a cliff overlooking the bay of the capital: Our Lady of Africa, dating from 1872 and has rich religious paintings and mosaics.
How to get around Algeria
The best way to get around the country is by train or car because the truth is that the transportation options are quite limited. The train is a standard and ticket prices are affordable. The stations are bustling and confusing places so you should be careful, arrive early, have a good command of the language and know how it works before making any reservation or purchase.
You can rent a car But as things stand, there has been a terrorist attack, it is not something that I would recommend. if you don't like adventure. There are international car rental agencies such as Hertz or AVIS and you can rent one at the airport itself or from the hotel where you are staying. There are all kinds of cars, small, large, trucks, mini vans. It all depends on your destinations.
Finally, if you are spanish you need a visa to enter Algeria. You must process it about four weeks before your travel date through the Embassy and Consulates since no visas are issued at the borders. You must also have travel insurance. No vaccination is mandatory but it wouldn't hurt to have the one for tetanus and hepatitis A and B, among others that you surely already have due to the mandatory vaccination plan.
Is Algeria a dangerous destination? Well, potentially it is, because there are active cells of terrorist groups. There were attacks last year and the most recent, in February and August of this year, 2017, but the targets have not been tourists but police and officers. At times foreigners have been kidnapped, especially on the borders or in the south, so it is not advisable to travel to the Greater South and to the borders with Niger, Mauritania, Libya or Mali.