A country of contrasts extending over a wide territory from the Mediterranean Sea to the heart of the Sahara desert, Algeria is the second largest country in Africa and the 11th in the world.
The cultural and historical heritages of the many civilizations that during thousands of years left their traces in monuments of unique beauty are side by side with a wide range of tourist facilities from seaside resorts offering relaxation, shopping, sports activities and a lively nightlife, to more adventurous itineraries into the mountains and the harsh but fascinating desert landscapes.

In short

Area: 2,381,741 km² -- Population: about 33 million -- Density: 13,3 per km² -- Government: Republic -- Capital: Algiers -- Language: Arabic, French -- Religion: -- Currency: Algerian dinar (DZD) -- Telephone code: +213 -- Internet suffix: .dz -- Member of: the UNO since 1962


Administrative division

Algeria is presently divided into 48 wilayas (provinces), 553 dairas (counties) and 1541 baladiyahs (commues). Since its independence from France on 5 July 1962 many new provinces were added leaving to the original provinces their initial progressive number, so that now the official numbers do not correspond to the alphabetical order. The list of provinces in 2007 with their official numbers is as follows: 1 Adrar, 2 Chlef, 3 Laghouat, 4 Oum el-Bouaghi, 5 Batna, 6 Béjaïa, 7 Biskra, 8 Béchar, 9 Blida, 10 Bouira, 11 Tamanghasset, 12 Tébessa, 13 Tlemcen, 14 Tiaret, 15 Tizi Ouzou, 16 Algiers, 17 Djelfa, 18 Jijel, 19 Sétif, 20 Saida, 21 Skikda, 22 Sidi Bel Abbes, 23 Annaba, 24 Guelma, 25 Constantine, 26 Médéa, 27 Mostaganem, 28 M'Sila, 29 Mascara, 30 Ouargla, 31 Oran, 32 El Bayadh, 33 Illizi, 34 Bordj Bou Arréridj, 35 Boumerdès, 36 El Tarf, 37 Tindouf, 38 Tissemsilt, 39 El Oued, 40 Khenchela, 41 Souk Ahras, 42 Tipasa, 43 Mila, 44 Aïn Defla, 45 Naama, 46 Aïn Témouchent, 47 Ghardaïa, 48 Relizane

The Territory

In the heart of Northern Africa, Algeria has 6000 km long borders separating it from Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Niger, Mali and Libya, and in the north a coastline extending for over 1200 km of coast with the immense extension of the Sahara occupying over two million sq km. There are four different mountain groups, the coastal chains, then going south a succession of plains and plateaus, a southern range, the Tellian Atlas and the area of the Sahara with its mountain areas of exceptional beauty.

The climate

Along the coast, which is where the majority of the population is concentrated, Algeria enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with the sun shining all the year long and mild winters.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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  • Al Qal'a di Beni Hammad, an archeological site near the Mediterranean Sea west of Algiers, at an altitude of over 1000 m a.s.l.; one of the most ancient Islamic fortified settlements, where in 1007 the first Hammadit dynasty was established, the site includes a palace and huge mosque.
  • Djémila, near the sea East of Algiers, with the ruins of the ancient Roman town called Curculum, includes a theatre, two forums, temples, basilicas and urban dwellings.
  • The imposing ruins at Timgad of the ancient Roman town of Thamugas, surrounded by walls and located at the junction of six roads, 35 km from Batna, ffounded by Emperor Trajan in 100 AD as a military colony and originally inhabited by Parthian veterans of the Roman army.
  • The Algiers Kasbah, a unique example of a typical medina, or Muslim town, situated along one of the most enchanting Mediterranean coastal areas, where a more ancient checkpoint on the opposite islets existed already in the 4th century BC, when here a Punic trade centre was established; the kasbah includes remains of the citadel, mosques and Ottoman palaces, and lodgings arranged according the Islamic traditional urban plan.
  • The M'Zab Valley, inside the Sahara 600 km south of Algiers, a group of five settlements known together as the Pentapolis, founded on the plateau and rocky walls of the valley starting from the 11th century AD by the Ibadis people, originary of the Maghreb, a remarkable example of architectural adaptation to the constraints of the hostile environment of the wadi, subject to devastating floods in the short rain periods. Each of the five fortified villages, known as ksur, have their own mosque, which served also as sighting tower and fortress. The M'Zab community maintains still today many of their political and religious customs.
  • The Tassili n'Ajjer, a rocky plateau spanning over 500 km south-east in Algeria, partly included in a National Park, with a typical rare vegetation of Sahara cypress and mirth and interspersed with archeological sites.
  • The town of Tipasa, today a renowned seaside resort with wide sandy beaches, but also an archaeological site showing traces of different civilisations, Phoenician, Roman, early Christian and Byzantine, as well as comprising the Kbor er Roumia, the Mauritania royal mausoleum.