The main building of the Algiers Casbah was built in 1516 on the site of an older building and served as the Palace Of The Deys until the French conquest. A road has been cut through the center of the building, the mosque turned into barracks and the hall of audience allowed to fall into ruin. Today there are still some remains and traces of a minaret, as well as some marble arches and columns and some pieces of the vaults in which the treasures of the Day were stored.
The Grand Mosque is the oldest mosque in Algiers. It is said that this building already existed in 1018. The beautiful interior of the mosque is square and is divided into aisles by columns that are joined by Moorish arches. The New Mosque is in the form of a Greek cross and dates back to the 17th century. It is surrounded by a huge white cupola and with four small cupolas at the corners. The interior of this mosque is very much the same as that of the Grand Mosque.
Algiers was the most successful of all the Barbary pirate bases, especially in the 16th century under the most remarkable pirate of all, Kheireddin Barbarossa. It was also the most cherished of all French colonial centres. And since independence in 1962, it has been the political, economic and cultural hub of an extremely large and culturally and geographically diverse country.
The largest port in northwest Africa and the largest city too, it now spreads far to accommodate a population that has doubled in 20 years.
Algiers suffered along with the rest of the country during the ‘black years’ of the 1990s. Since then, it has seen a strange split in its fortunes. You don’t have to walk far in the centre to see people hanging around with nothing to do.
All capitals have their jobless and homeless, but they look out of place in a country that has just paid off its foreign debt. Thanks mainly to oil and gas revenue, there has never been so much cash in the city – the state is spending large sums and there is a sense among some individuals that money is there to be made. The number of new cars choking the main roads is a sign of growing personal prosperity.
In 1992, UNESCO recognized a site in Algeria that is not only historical and fascinating, but which is still home to thousands of residents, namely the Casbah of Algiers. It is one of the most visited and impressive attractions in Algiers, and is a landmark to the city and a monument to its past.
Originally constructed on the old Icosium ruins, the Casbash of Algiers has been transformed over the centuries, but many of its old structures are still in existence. The casbah itself is a truly unique and interesting experience.
Many visitors to the Casbah of Algiers are overwhelmed by the hundreds of narrow streets that wind through the casbah, which can best be described as a labyrinth of pathways. Due to its authenticity, the Casbah of Algiers has welcomed many film crews, flocking to this magnificent attraction to be used as a movie set.
While exploring the casbah visitors will be able to discover wonderful noteworthy sites such as mosques, palaces showcasing the Ottoman period architecture and the ruins of the old citadel.
Tradition and culture are a vital part of living in the casbah, which creates an atmosphere that visitors will not find anywhere else in Algeria or in the world for that matter. It is an unforgettable attraction that combines tradition and history with daily living, allowing visitors to travel back in time and discover the breathtaking past of the country.
In Algiers, most of the interesting sights are in the old part of the city known as the Casbah or Medina. The travelers that do make it to Algiers are impressed with the very friendly and hospitable people. The old French buildings, the promenade along the seafront and the food also get good ratings.