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Algeria

Main attractions

Atlas mountains in Blida, Algeria
Atlas mountains in Blida / Yellès Arif, , CC BY-SA 3.0

Algeria is the largest country in Africa. Unstable political situation prevents development of tourism - but rest assured that there is a lot to see in this diverse country. A huge lot of attractions still waits be discovered - occasional travellers report huge amount of prehistoric landmarks in remote parts of Sahara - and no scientists have seen them yet. Highlights of Algeria are:

  • Prehistoric rock art in Tassili N'Ajjer - only Aboriginal rock art in Australia and the cave art in France and Spain can compete with the quality and diversity of rock art in Tassili N'Ajjer, and, most likely, no other place in the world has such a wealth of this art. Prehistoric people have created many narratives which are mysterious to us and, it is possible, their meaning will never be explained.
  • Cliff formations in Tassili N'Ajjer - these mountains in the centre of Sahara are truly breathtaking. Hundreds of fantastic cliff formations - such as forests of rock stacks and countless natural arches - stimulate imagination and, possibly, inspired the great rock art.
  • Numidian and later Berber heritage - Algeria has its own indigenous culture and heritage. Very interesting are the tombs of the ancient Numidian kings - but even more amazing are the later urban planning traditions and architecture in the old cities and towns of Algeria.

Natural landmarks

Ouarkziz crater from the space, Algeria
Ouarkziz crater from the space / NASA, , public domain

Impact craters

  • Amguid crater - Tamanghasset. Very well pronounced impact crater, less than 100,000 years old. Diameter – 500 - 530 m, 65 m deep.
  • Ouarkziz crater - Tindouf. Exposed impact crater, 3.5 km in diameter and less than 70 million years old.
  • Talemzane crater (Madna crater) - Laghouat. Exposed impact crater, 1.75 km in diameter, less than 3 million years old. Discovered in 1928.

Caves

  • Anou Ifflis - Tizi Ouzou. One of the deepest known caves in Africa, 1,170 m deep.
  • Rhar Bou Ma'za - Tissemsilt. 18.4 km long cave system.
Constantine natural arches, Algeria
Constantine natural arches / Snapshots of the Past, , CC BY-SA 2.0

Natural arches

  • Henri Lhote Arch - Illizi. Large natural arch with 22.1 m wide span.
  • El Mandar Arch - Illizi. Beautiful, 22 m wide and 7.2 m high natural arch.
  • Imestar Arch - Illizi. Group of three natural arches, the largest has a span of 21 m.
  • Rhummel Gorge and Constantine natural arches - Constantine. City of Constantine is crossed by 1.8 km long and up to 200 m deep gorge which is crossed by numerous bridges. Three natural arches cross the gorge, the largest is some 45 - 50 m tall, approximately 30 m wide.
  • Takouba Arch - Illizi. Weird, impressive natural arch, some 20 m high and 10 m wide.
  • Tikoubaouine Arch - Illizi. Large, 14.3 m wide and 16 m high natural arch with another, smaller opening above it.

Waterfalls

  • El Ourit Falls - Tlemcen. Group of seven large waterfalls.
  • Kefrida Falls - Béjaïa. Some 44 m tall waterfall, lowest of three major waterfalls on Kefrida stream.

Ecosystems

  • Djebel Babor forest - Béjaïa. Montane forest with endemic species of plants and animals. The only place where Algerian fir (Abies numidica) grows, here lives a population of Berbery Macaque and other rare animals.
  • Tamrit Valley of the Cypresses - Illizi. Group of very old and rare cypress trees (Cupressus dupreziana) which is endemic to Tassili n'Ajjer. It is believed that these trees are thousands of years old. Here are located approximately 100 cypresses - most of world's population.
Hammam Meskhoutine terraces, Algeria
Hammam Meskhoutine terraces / J. Garrigues, around 1880, , CC BY-SA 3.0

Other natural landmarks

  • Hammam Meskhoutine springs - Guelma. Group of hot springs which have formed giant travertine terraces. Discharge of the hottest spring (98°C) is 1650 l/min. Used for bathing since the Roman times.
  • Tin Balalan cypress - Illizi, Wadi Amazar. The largest Cupressus dupreziana, 12 m in circumference and some 22 m tall.
  • Titeras N'Elias - Illizi. "Stone forest" - large group of rock stacks. One can walk between these rock stacks and even get lost in this "forest". Some very impressive natural arches.

Man made landmarks

Rock art in Tassili N'Ajjer

Great God of Sefar - cliff drawing in Tassili N'Ajjer, Algeria
Great God of Sefar - cliff drawing in Tassili N'Ajjer / mitiemp.pe, , public domain
  • Aouenrhet rock paintings - Illizi. Group of prehistoric paintings of high artistic quality. Some paintings are truly unusual, such as the "masked god" and "white lady".
  • Jabbaren rock paintings ("Great Martian God") - Illizi. Group of world famous prehistoric paintings. One shows enormous man-like figure, which by some researchers of paranormal activities is seen as a depiction of alien.
  • Sefar Wadi rock art - Illizi. One of world's largest prehistoric art galleries with many world renowned drawings. Most famous is the "Great God of Sefar".
  • Tan Zumaïtak shelter - Illizi. Group of unique, well preserved prehistoric paintings, showing "aliens".
  • Terarart rock panel ("The Crying Cows") - Illizi. Panel with prehistoric engravings of cattle with something like tears at their eyes. One of the highest achievements in such technique in Africa.
  • Wadi Djerat - Illizi. Early example of rock art - thousands of rock engravings along 30 km long canyon.

Ruins of ancient cities

  • Beni Hammad Fort - M'Sila. Ruins of the first Hammadid capital. This mountain city was enclosed in 7 km long walls and had four residential complexes. Notable is the 20 m tall minaret of a mosque. City was built in 1007 and abandoned in 1090.
  • Djémila - Sétif. Well preserved ruins of Roman - Berberic town in the mountains. City was constructed in the 1st century AD and abandoned in the 5th - 6th centuries.
  • Hippo Regius - Annaba. Ruins of very old town, first established by Phoenicians in the 12th century BC, later - Roman town and important centre of early Christianity.
  • Khamissa (Thubursicu Numidarum) - Souk Ahras. Ruins of Roman town.
  • Lambaesis - Batna. Ruins of Roman town, founded between 123 and 129 AD, declined at the end of the 4th century. Contains ruins of large public buildings - triumphal arches, aqueducts, amphitheatre and others.
  • Timgad - Batna. Extensive ruins of once important Roman town. Founded around 100 AD as a Roman military outpost to protect Roman colonies from Berber attacks. Later became an important centre of Christianity, abandoned in the 7th century. Well preserved grid planning of street network. Important landmark - the 12 m high Trajan's Arch.
  • Tipaza - Tipaza. Ruins of Punic - Roman town, which later turned in to a centre of early Christianity. Contains ruins of three churches as well as amphitheater, baths and other structures.
Royal Mauritanian mausoleum, Algeria
Royal Mauritanian mausoleum / Yellès Arif, 2004, , CC BY-SA 3.0

Numidian tombs

  • Beni Rhenane Mausoleum - Aïn Témouchent. Numidian mausoleum, 15 m wide. Originally it was some 30 m tall, now much lower. Built around the 2nd century BC.
  • Jebel Lakhdar jedars and Debel Araoui jedars - Tiaret. Two groups of funerary monuments of Numidian kings. First group has three of these round, pyramid like structures, other - ten. Largest ones have a diameter of 46 m, height - up to 18 m. Oldest is from the 5th century AD, newest - from the 7th century AD.
  • Medracen (Madghacen) - Batna. Unusual stone structure - round, 18.5 m high pyramidal tomb of Numidian kings. Built in the 3rd century BC.
  • Royal Mauritanian mausoleum - Tipaza. Enormous stone mound, 60.9 m in diameter and 32.4 m high. Time of the construction is not known, monument is approximately 2000 years old.
  • Tomb of Massinissa in El Khroub - Constantine. Stone structure - a tomb of Numidian king Massinissa, built around 148 BC.
  • Tomb of Tin Hinan - Tamanrasset. Unique funerary structure with eleven rooms, according to legends - a tomb of the legendary Tin Hinan. Rich tomb of a man was found here in 1925 - 1933. Constructed around the 3rd century.

Other archaeological landmarks

  • Djorf Torba megalithic cemetery - Béchar. Megalithic necropolis with stone slabs which still have paintings of horses and gazelles. It is possible that the most adorned grave was a grave of an artist.
  • Fadnoun Idebni - Illizi. Largest group of idebni - hundreds of prehistoric solar tombs, formed as keyholes.
  • Roknia - Guelma. Large prehistoric necropolis with more than 3000 dolmens.
  • Senâm - M'sila. Large group of prehistoric monuments - stone circles from natural limestone. Diameter of circles varies from 7 to 10 meters.
El-Ateuf village in M'Zab Valley, Algeria
El-Ateuf village in M'Zab Valley / Stefan Krasowski, , CC BY 2.0

Historical towns and cities

  • Ghoufi - Batna. Historical village with many rock cut houses (balconies), built over the deep and picturesque Ghoufi canyon. Village has been inhabited since the 4th century AD.
  • Kasbah of Algiers - Algiers. Very well preserved old city with numerous valuable buildings and the characteristic urban network of small medieval passages and streets. Built mainly in the 17th - 18th centuries in the site of ancient city.
  • Nedroma - Oran. Historical Berber town with medieval architecture.
  • M'Zab towns - Ghardaia, Bouboura, El-Ateuf, Beni Isguene, Melika - Ghardaïa. Unique monument of Berber urban planning and architecture - five closely located walled towns. Each of the towns is built in concentric rings around the mosque. The adobe structures often have unique architecture.
  • Timimoun - Adrar. Old desert town with characteristic planning and architecture. Most buildings are built from red clay.

Mosques

  • Great Mosque of Algiers - Algiers. Large mosque, well preserved example of Almoravid architecture. Its construction started in 1097. Minaret constructed in 1332.
  • Ketchaoua Mosque - Algiers. Large, ornate mosque, originally built in 1612. One of the most ornate buildings in Algiers.
  • Sidi Boumediene Mosque - Tlemcen. Old mosque with ornate details, minaret is 23.7 m tall. Constructed in 1339.
Notre Dame d'Afrique in Algiers, Algeria
Notre Dame d'Afrique in Algiers / Yellès Arif, , CC BY-SA 3.0

Churches

  • Basilica Saint Reparatus in Orleansville - Chlef. This basilica was constructed in 324 AD and is the oldest church building in Africa. Here was located also the oldest known church labyrinth, now moved to Algiers.
  • Notre Dame d'Afrique - Algiers. Catholic basilica, constructed in 1872 in Neo-Byzantine style.

Other man made landmarks

  • Bardo National Museum - Algiers. Museum of history and art, located in an ornate Hafsid palace from the 13th century. Contains fine collection of Roman mosaics.
  • Maqam Echahid (Martyr's Memorial) - Algiers. Iconic monument, built from concrete in 1982. 92 m high.

List of described attractions by provinces

Algeria is divided into 48 provinces:

Adrar
Aïn Defla
Aïn Témouchent
Algiers
Annaba
Batna
Béchar
Béjaïa
ArrowKefrida FallsWaterfalls
Biskra
Blida
Bordj Bou Arréridj
Bouira
Boumerdès
Chlef
Constantine
Djelfa
El Bayadh
El Oued
El Tarf
Ghardaïa
Guelma
ArrowHammam Meskhoutine (Hammam Meskoutine) springsSpring tufa, travertine and other formations, Thermal springs
Illizi
Jijel
Khenchela
Laghouat
Mascara
Médéa
Mila
Mostaganem
M'Sila
Naama
Ouargla
Oum el-Bouaghi
Oran
Relizane
Saïda
Sétif
Sidi Bel Abbes
Skikda
Souk Ahras
Tamanghasset
ArrowAmguid craterImpact craters
Tébessa
Tiaret
Tindouf
Tipasa
Tissemsilt
Tizi Ouzou
Tlemcen

Map of Algeria

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