Nicknamed El-Behdja or Alger la Blanche (Algiers the White), because of the view of the glistening white buildings that seem to be rising out of the sea, the capital city of Algeria is at once a beautiful, thrilling and at times brutal contrasts of images. Located on a bay of the Mediterranean Sea, Algiers which is also the largest city in the country is often more of a stopover for most tourists. However, the city does pack a couple of interesting sights particularly in the Casbah, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Algiers is an untapped African city with a lot to offer tourists. History buffs will find this ancient city interesting. Algiers is speckled with historic buildings and the lovingly restored Ottoman-era Palais de Raïs is its leading cynosure. The palace gives lots of insights about life in Algiers in the Ottoman and French periods. While in Algiers, ensure you explore the architecture, monuments and ancient sites such as the Makkam Ech Chaid, the Casbah—a UNESCO World Heritage site, notable as a mysterious labyrinth of narrow allies with a hodge-podge of traditional homes, mosques and shops; and the Notre Dame d’Afrique. Add a visit to the National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts, and the Bardo Museum to your itineraries. These sites are must-sees! Don’t forget to have fun at the Hammam Meskoutine spring. I am sure with the foaming purple bougainvillea; the scents of mimosa, pine, spice and coffee; the roads floating through hillsides above the great sea; the Ottoman palaces; the scent of grilling lamb in the warren of the casbah; the harbour front with its snowy colonial buildings endlessly colonnaded, including the old post office which looks like a palace of ice-cream; and the rich dark cafes, you won’t want to leave the city!
The staple food in Algiers is couscous, pasta made from cracked wheat steamed flavoured with honey, cinnamon, or almonds. Kebabs made in French bread and covered with spicy sauce is also popular. You can also enjoy semolina wheat served with lamb or chicken, cooked vegetables, and gravy. Onions, turnips, raisins, chickpeas, and red peppers, as well as salt, pepper, cumin, and coriander are common spice used in most dishes. Other popular dishes are chorba, a spicy soup; dolma, a mixture of tomatoes and peppers, and bourek—mincemeat with onions and fried eggs, rolled and fried in batter. Cake made of mixed grains and a drink mixed together from crushed goat cheese, dates, and water are also fascinating meals in the city. For religious reasons, alcohol is unpopular in Algiers, but you can savour the city’s strong black coffee, sweetened mint tea and apricot and other fruit juices.