Algeria is a beautiful country in North Africa and part of the Middle East. In fact, it sits in the most northern part of the African continent. Since it is not a particularly popular travel destination, there are many interesting facts about Algeria that are often overlooked.
Common Facts About Algeria
Officially called the “Peoples Democratic Republic of Algeria,” this Middle Eastern country has an approximate population of 44.2 million people.
Algeria is known for its Mediterranean coastlines, the Sahara Desert, and some beautiful world heritage sites.
Despite having its fair share of turbulent history, Algeria is comparatively one of the more stable countries in Africa. Here are several facts about Algeria that may just capture your heat.
Several countries in Africa are prone to armed conflicts and civil/social unrest. Always double check the latest situations from both your government and the local government advisories.
Historical Facts About Algeria
The National Anthem Story
The story of the Algerian national anthem is an emotional one. It was born out of a cry for independence.
From the early 1920s through to the 1960s, Algeria was colonized by the French. Few Algerians were given limited political rights. A nationalist movement began from then. After World War II, the movement gained enough traction but ultimately fell through.
A poet with affiliations with the Algerian People’s Party, Mufdi Zakariah, wrote the anthem. Due to his political involvement, the French often jailed and tortured him in Barberousse Prison.
During one of his terms in jail, he wrote the “Qassaman,” the national anthem, a song about the Algerian fight for independence.
The fight for independence from France was tough, so the anthem sounds more like a battle song. Zakariah had no writing material, so he actually used his blood to write the lyrics on the prison wall.
Allies and Foes
When they fought side by side in the first and second World Wars, it was clear that the French had close links to the Muslims of Algeria.
But following World War II, the former allies found themselves at war with each other as Algeria sought independence from France.
The battle for independence lasted from 1954 to 1962 and it was considered a rather fierce and bloody conflict. Over a million Algerians lost their lives during this war.
The sacrifices did ultimately pay off as Algeria finally gained independence from France in 1962.
The national holiday in Algeria is November 1st. It is not the day the country gained independence, but it marks the beginning of the fight for independence. It is a very important date in Algeria.
November 1st, 1954, marks the independentist appeal address by the National Liberation Front to the Algerian people. The official independence date of Algeria is July 5th, 1962.
Useful Facts About Algeria For Travelers
Fennec Fox, The National Animal
The Fennec fox is the world’s smallest fox. These beautiful creatures usually have a length of around 30-41 cm without the tail. And weighs a maximum of 3 pounds.
The unique feature of the fennec fox is its long ears. They use their large ears to dissipate heat and listen to out-of-range underground prey.
Here’s a cool fact about Algeria and their men’s football team. The men’s national team is named after the Fennec force “Les Fennics.” You can spot this fox almost everywhere in the country.
7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Algeria boasts 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most interesting of which is Algiers or El Djazair, the country’s capital.
How often do you have the capital city as a world heritage site? In this case, it is deservedly so.
The capital city features interesting landmarks like the whitewashed buildings, 17th-century Ketchaoua Mosque, Ottoman Palace, and a medina with a steep windy street. There are so many sites befitting a UNESCO world heritage title.
Of all the sites, the most famous one is Timgad, a Roman city in Algeria. It is suggested that Timgad dates as far as 100 AD. Definitely check out some of these historical sites in Algeria when you visit.
Djamaa El Djazair Mosque
This is a famous tourist attraction in Algeria. You may be wondering why a mosque in Mohammadia is attractive to tourists. If you ever visit Algeria, check it out and see for yourself. The mosque’s architecture is simply stunning.
Beyond its beauty, the world’s largest minaret resides in this mosque. In fact, it ranks as the third-largest mosque in the world. This is one of the outstanding facts about Algeria.
This is another tourist attraction in Algeria. Located in the Ahaggar National Park, the plateau is a sight to behold. Getting there can be inconvenient if you don’t have personal transport. However, it is worth the effort.
Atakor has a dry reddish-brown landscape dotted with harsh sheer peaks. It has a unique serene attributed only to sci-fi movies. It is a sight you won’t forget for a long time.
The Assekrem peak of the Atakor plateau is a wonder with different realities. The view from the Assekrem peak and the ruggedness of the landscape make the name Assekrem the perfect match for it.
Assekrem means “the end of the world.” It’s a direct translation from the Tuareg language, one of the different dialects of Berber, a widely spoken language in Algeria.
Cultural Facts About Algeria
The Dates And Cherry Country
Here’s an interesting fact about Algeria, the country is often referred to as the Country of dates and cherries.
Although Algeria is known for having some of the best dates in the world, the term country of “dates and cherries” is actually referencing the country’s weather.
The northern part of Algeria has a mild climate, while the Saharan south has a dry-to-hot climate. That contrast is like the difference between dates and cherries.
That said, there is a fun fact about Algeria dates you should know. It plays a key role in Algerian culture. When someone visits, it is common for the host to offer them dates and milk. It’s a gesture that screams “Welcome!”
Better Status And Position For Women
How about this for a cool fact about Algeria? Compared to most Islamic nations, women have better status and positions in Algeria.
Here are some important stats and information about Algeria. 60% of the Algerian judges are women, 70% of lawyers are women, and over 60% of the student population in the country are women. Interestingly, women have bigger household income contributions than men.
Hospitality In Algeria
The culture in Algeria place quite an emphasis on hospitality. Algerians are warm and friendly to both locals and visitors. Their culture is a hybrid of the French Gallic tradition and the Arabic custom.
You are expected to greet everyone individually in gatherings with few people. You start with the elders, and handshakes are the most adopted gesture.
Using your left hand to handle people or things is considered rude. Pointing at people or objects with your finger is also frowned upon.
Languages In Algeria
Algeria’s official language is Arabic, Tamazight (also known as Berber), or French. “Darja” Algerian Arabic is also widely spoken in the country. English is not a common language in Algeria, but it is taught in different schools across the country.
Geographical Facts About Algeria
Largest Country In Africa
Algeria is the largest country in Africa. It has a land area of over 2.3 million square km. Mauritania, Mali, Libya, Niger, Tunisia, and Morocco border it.
Did you know? With a land area of over 2.3 million square km, Algeria is almost 5 times larger than Spain. Now, that puts things into perspective. This is one of the surprising facts about Algeria for many.
Sahara Desert Is Part Of Algeria
Here is an interesting Algeria fact many need to learn about. Algeria is home to the famous Sahara Desert! Interestingly, the Sahara Desert takes up over 80% of the Country’s 2.3 million square km land area. Only 12% of the country’s land area is inhabited.
The Highest And Longest: Mount Tahat And Chelif
Mount Tahat is the highest point in Algeria. The mountain stands at 3003 meters above sea level. Chelif is the longest river in Algeria, with a total length of 700 km. There are many natural wonders in this underrated African country.
Diverse Climate In Algeria
The highest temperature ever recorded in the country was 51 °C in 2011.
The mountains get lots of snow and frost. Although the Sahara desert part of the country doesn’t receive enough rain, the coastal regions have rain in abundance.
That drastic difference in climate across the country is not widely experienced in many nations. This also means you can actually experience different landscapes and ecological systems within just Algeria.
One Of The Longest Coastlines
Algeria has one of the longest coastlines in Africa, with a decent length of 998 kilometers. The Mediterranean Sea borders the country.
Now that you know this Algeria fact, you are probably not surprised to know that they do have some beautiful shorelines.
While Algeria is not synonymous with beaches, you will be missing out if you don’t check out the coast when you visit.
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Other Interesting Facts About Algeria
Capital Of Algiers
Algiers is a city on the Mediterranean coast of Algeria. It’s the country’s capital and the largest city. It also houses over 10% of the country’s population.
Algiers is known for its Ottoman Palaces, the whitewashed building of Kasbah, and a ruined citadel. It has a total land area of 363 square km and an elevation of 424 meters. This is almost definitely one of the places you will go to when you visit the country.
Thinly Spread Population
This Algeria fact shouldn’t come as a surprise. Considering the country’s population is just a little under 45 million, the population cannot be evenly or widely spread.
It is estimated that a whopping 90% of Algerians reside along the Mediterranean coast. However, that accounts for just about 12% of the country’s geographic landmass. This means the population is relatively clustered together.
The Meaning Behind Algeria Flag
The Algerian flag is a tricolor flag with green, white, and red. The green and white split the flag into two halves. The flag carries a crescent and star, which are drawn in red. It is positioned in the middle of the flag. It appears clearly on both halves of the flag.
The green on the flag represents Islam. The white represents purity and peace, while the red represents liberty. The crescent and star are well-known symbols of the Islamic religion.
A fun fact about the Algeria flag is that it has a more closed crescent than any other Muslim country. It is a common belief in Algeria that the longer crescent horns bring happiness.
One National Anthem, Two Countries
Perhaps one of the most unique and funny facts about Algeria is that its national anthem is the only one in the world to mention two countries, Algeria and France.
At the time of adoption, the song was intended to be a temporary anthem until a new one was composed. But the anthem has withstood the test of time, and it still stands to date.
Nobel Prize Winners In Algeria
Here is one of the not-so-known yet proud facts about Algeria. The country has two Nobel prize winners. Albert Camus and Claude Cohen Tannoudji.
In 1957, Albert Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize for his excellence in literature while Claude Cohen Tannouji won the Nobel Prize for physics just two years later in 1997. Camus wrote about the dilemmas of human conscience, while Claude won the prize for contributing to the research in cooling and trapping atoms.
The Algerian Economy
This is a rather contrasting fact about Algeria and its financial status. The country ranks as one of the poor countries in the world with 1 in 4 Algerians living on less than a dollar daily. However, the nation itself has no external debt. This means Algeria doesn’t owe any other country a dime.
Discovering More Fun Facts About Algeria
While it might not be as prominent as other travel destinations, Algeria is a fascinating country with so much to explore and discover.
These are just some of the interesting facts about Algeria that many might not have known or thought about. It gives a glimpse into the history and culture of the place that is so often overlooked.
Hopefully, these are a great start to learning even more about this unique North African country and all that it offers.