Country Profiles:

Algeria is the largest country on the continent as of 2011 since South Sudan became independent from Sudan  splitting into two countries which decrease the landmass. Algeria is also the 10th largest country in the world. Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory, Mauritania, and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. Located in the Norther region call the Maghreb (Arabic: “West”), basically any countries on the North west of Egypt. The weather of the Maghreb is characterized by prevailing westerly winds, which drop most of their moisture on the northern slopes and coastal plain, leaving little for the southern slopes. Algeria extends southward deep into the heart of the Sahara, a forbidding desert where the Earth’s hottest surface temperatures have been recorded  constituting more than four-fifths of the country’s area. Hence, the Sahara and its extreme climate dominates the country.

UNESCO Heritage sites in Algeria include:

1. Beni Hammad Fort

Beni Hammad Fort, also called Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad (Arabic: قلعة بني حماد‎) is a fortified palatine city in Algeria. Now in ruins, in the 11th century, it served as the first capital of the Hammadid dynasty. It is in the Hodna Mountains northeast of M’Sila, at an elevation of 1,418 metres (4,652 ft), and receives abundant water from the surrounding mountains. Beni Hammad Fort is near the town of Maadid (aka Maadhid), about 225 kilometres (140 mi) southeast of Algiers, in the Maghreb.

In 1980, it was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and described as “an authentic picture of a fortified Muslim city.”

2. Kasbah of Algiers

A unique Islamic city on the Mediterranean coast, the former site overlooks the Carthaginian trading posts of the 4th century BCE. It contains remains of a citadel, old mosques, and Ottoman-style palaces.

3. M’Zab Valley

The Mozabites (“At Mzab”) are a branch of a large Berber tribe, the Iznaten, which lived in large areas of middle southern Algeria. Many Tifinagh letters and symbols are engraved around the Mzab Valley.

After the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, the Mozabites became Muslims of the Mu’tazili school. After the fall of the Rostemid state, the Rostemid royal family with some of their citizens chose the Mzab Valley as their refuge. However, the Rostemids were Ibadi and sent a preacher (Abu Bakr an-Nafusi) who successfully converted the indigenous Mozabites.

4. Tassili n’Ajjer

The site is in a landscape with 15,000 cave engravings that record climatic changes, animal migrations, and the evolution of human life, dating from 6,000 BCE to the first centuries CE

5. Timgad

A military colony built by Emperor Trajan in 100 CE, the site features cardo and decumanus streets, typical of a Roman town.

6. Tipasa

First a Carthaginian trading center, Tipasa was converted into a military base by the Romans. Heavy Christian influences can be seen from the 3rd and 4th centuries, though Tipasa went into steady decline in the Byzantine period.

Algeria only has 3% of arable land. From 1962 to 1980, the economy was largely based on agricultural production.

However, the country is also rich in natural resources despite its dominance of the extreme Sahara  climate and limited arable land. The country is rich in minerals such as lead, iron ore and zinc, and energy sources, specifically petroleum and natural gas. These resources have caused Algeria to shift from focusing on agriculture, which has led to an increase in the country’s imports – about 45%. The  oil production has tremendously increase since 1980 with the peak years of production spanning from 2005 to 2008, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Over the past 20 years, the nation’s production has been significantly higher than its consumption, increasing the opportunities for exportation. Algeria is currently the third largest oil producer on the continent and ranked top ten in the world. Algeria has an oil reserve of about 12 billion barrels and a daily production capacity of 1.7 million BPD, according to Africa Vault.

Algeria’s other major contribution to the world is natural gas. As the owner of the fifth-largest natural gas reserves, Algeria is the second-largest exporter in the world. Hydrocarbons make up a majority of the nation’s revenue and export earnings. Recent trends have placed a greater importance on some of Algeria’s lesser resources. Zinc has been increasing utilized for sustainable building and construction. Lead is still widely used in the production of various consumer products, including car batteries, ammunition and weights for lifting. The oil and gas sector of Algeria is the mainstay of the economy; it accounts for about 35 percent of Algeria’s GDP and two-thirds of its total exports.

Algeria gained Independence from France as

Declared on July 3rd. 1962, however independence day is Recognized on July 5th. 1962. France and Algeria had no diplomatic relations until 1965 as a result of the war of independence from 1954 to 1961. Then a civil break from 1991-1999 pitting Islamists against the government. The current president Abdelaziz Bouteflika came to power since 1999 in the midst of the civil war and gained his fourth term of office in the 2014 election. President Bouteflika is credited with curbing the conflict and restoring economic stability according the BBC.

Algeria’s population was an estimated 40.4 million,  ethnically Arab-Berber making up about 98% of the population. The Berbers are a semi-normadic ethnic group that historically occupied the Megreb region. They speak the Berber language, which together form the Berber branch of the Afro-asiatic family. Some Berbers are also Sahrawi, who basically identify themselves as owners of Western Sahara. Official languages are Arabic and French and the Berber language.

Cuisine in Algeria has had many influences that have contributed something unique to the country’s culinary delights. Over hundreds of years the Berbers, Arabs, Turks, Romans, the French and the Spanish have influenced the cuisine of Algeria. Dishes such as Chorba – spicy lamb or chicken stew with vegetables
Dolma – stuffed vegetables, Bissar – couscous served with chicken and dried vegetables
Djej bil Qasbour – coriander chicken
Brochettes – spicy kebabs, Hariri or Harira – soup served at Ramadan.

When foreigners think of Algerian music, the first genre that springs to mind is rai. Rai music of Algeria has been met with great enthusiasm in France and other European countries. Algeria’s music history was largely based on styles from Andalusia that were given a more African feel. Nuubaat music is a combination of already existing music that had a strong Ottoman influence. Hawzii and rabaab were derived from nuubaat. Algerian folk music styles are known as zindalii and hofii.

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