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Honeymoon in Algeria

Climb or Hike the Majestic Mountains of Algeria

From the Mediterranean coast the landscape peaks in the Atlas Mountains before it stretches across the Sahara Desert. With such varied topography, Algeria's landscape is diverse and fascinating. Algeria's mountain ranges cover large portions of the land. Some of Algeria's mountains form part of the great Atlas Mountain Range whilst others are located only within the country's borders.

The Atlas Mountains

The Atlas Mountain Range extends some 2400km/1500 miles across Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. It creates a border between the Mediterranean and the Sahara desert and is home to remote Arab villages in Algeria. This impressive mountain range is made up of the following sections: Middle Atlas, Anti-Atlas, High Atlas, Tell Atlas and Saharan Atlas. The latter two ranges are located in Algeria.

The Saharan Atlas

This Algerian Mountain Range makes up the eastern section of the Atlas Mountains. Djebel Aissa is the tallest peak in the Saharan Atlas, reaching 2236 meters in height. Smaller ranges that make up the Saharan Atlas include Ouled-Nael, Amour and Ksour. The Saharan Atlas later meets up with the Tell Atlas, forming the T'bessa and Medjerda ranges. Wadis, such as the Touil, run down from the Saharan Atlas. Wadis are riverbeds that only flow in wet seasons. Chaoui Berbers are the chief residents of this mountain range and they live mainly where the landscape makes agriculture possible.

The Tell Atlas

Measuring some 1500km in length, the Tell Atlas Mountain Range makes its way through Morocco, across Algeria and into Tunisia. The Tell Atlas runs parallel to the Saharan Atlas until it meets in the eastern side of Algeria. Many of Algeria's important cities are located along the Tell Atlas; this includes the capital of Algiers and Oran. The Chelif River runs from the Tell Atlas into the Mediterranean Sea and provides Algeria's inhabitants with a fertile agricultural valley.

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The Aures Mountains

This range forms and extension of the Atlas Mountains. It is located in eastern Algeria just to the east of Algeria's Saharan Atlas. Djebel Chelia, also known as Kaltum, is the tallest peak in this range and reaches a height of 2328 m. The Aur's Mountains are very isolated and remain the home of the Shawia people.

The Ahaggar Mountains (aka Hoggar)

Located in the south of Algeria, the Hoggar is a highland area of the central parts of the Sahara. The geography of the region consists mostly of rocky desert. Mount Tahat is the tallest peak of the area, reaching 2918m in height. A common attraction to these Algerian mountains is Assekrem, the place where Le Pere de Foulcault resided in 1905. Due to its less extreme climate, the Hoggar is a region of great biodiversity. The Ahaggar Mountains are the abode of the Imuhagh, who are part of the Tuareg. Nearby is the tomb of Tin Hinan, ancestor and matriarch of the Tuareg people. The Ahaggar region is very popular amongst tourists, with many tour operators visiting the area.

The Tassili n' Ajjer

Lying in the southeast of Algeria, this Saharan mountain range stretches some 500km. The highest point in the Tassili n'Ajjer range is Adrar Afao at 2158 meters. As the mountains are chiefly composed of sandstone, many awe-inspiring natural rock arches have formed. Vegetation in the range is mostly scattered woodland. The range is also popular with tourists because of its archeological interest, which includes the brilliant examples of ancient rock art that are found here. Large portions of the range are protected as part of the Tassili n'Ajjer National park.

Other Mountains and Ranges

Jebel Chenoua, to the west of Algiers, is a mountain group on the coast. Located between Tipaza and Cherchell, Jebel Cheoua is home to Berber speakers. The Gueltara Mountains are in the west of Algeria. The highest point in this small range is 755m high.

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National Parks - Conserving Algeria's Diverse Flora and Fauna

Algeria is a land of great biodiversity. A massive country with a wide variety of landscapes and ecological zones, Algeria has a rich natural heritage. Considered by many to be the most unique natural country of the Mediterranean, Algeria's distinctive morphology, bioclimate, fauna and flora contribute to its great biodiversity. In fact, Algeria is home to some rare species such as the Monk Seal, Barbary red deer, Kabylie Nuthatch and Audouin's Gull. An extensive network of protected areas has been created in Algeria to protect this great natural heritage. Algeria's National Parks encompass a variety of ecosystems, from coastal areas to desert and mountain.

Tassili n'Ajjer National Park in Algeria takes in a large portion of the Tassili n'Ajjer mountain range. Located in the southeast of Algeria, you will discover a variety of natural wonders in this Algerian National Park. The sandstone composition of the mountain range has resulted in a variety of rock arches and other landforms all slowly etched out by erosion. Sandstone has also contributed to the area's ability to sustain large amounts of plant life as it holds water well. Vegetation in the Tassili n'Ajjer National Park is mostly woodland made up of endemic, endangered plant species, namely Saharan Myrtle and Saharan Cypress. Due to the numbers of endangered species along with the great archeological significance of the area, the National Park has been declared a World Heritage Site. The closest town providing access to the park is Djanet.

Below is a list of other protected areas and National Parks in Algeria. Be sure to visit one of these outstanding protected natural areas when touring Algeria.

Coastal National Parks of Algeria:
El Kala National Park
Gouraya National Park
Taza Naional Park

Algerian National Parks of the Mountain Areas:
Theniet El Had National Park
Djurdjura National Park
Chrea National Park
Belezma National Park
Tlemcen National Park

Algerian National Parks of the Steppe:
Djebel Aissa National Park

Algerian National Parks of Sahara:
Tassili National Park
l'Ahaggar National Park

Nature Reserves in Algeria:
la Macta Nature Reserve
Mergueb Nature Reserve
Beni-salah Nature Reserve
Babors Nature Reserve
Iles Habibas Marine Nature Reserve

Religious Sites - Visit the Mosques and Churches of Algeria

With Islam being the dominant religion of Algeria, it comes as no surprise that the majority of the country’s sacred and religious sites are connected to the Islamic faith. One or more mosques can be found in virtually every Algerian town and city. While the primary purpose of a mosque is as a center of worship, it is also a place for learning and for taking care of matters relating to the Islamic community it serves. With their beautifully shaped domes, spires and intricate decoration, the distinctive architecture of mosques generally makes them stand out among the surrounding buildings, and while tourists may not be permitted to enter them, mosques are nevertheless viewed as tourist attractions.

Of the many mosques found in Algeria, three stand out as having significant historical value – the Great Mosque of Tlemcen, the Great Mosque of Algiers, and the Ketchaoua Mosque in Algiers, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other mosques of note include the Al-Kawthar Mosque in Blida, Chiffa; the Lakhdaria Mosque in the northern Algerian town of Lakhdaria; the Mosque of Constantine and the Pasha Mosque in Oran.

Located on the north side of the city of Algiers on a cliff overlooking the bay, the Notre Dame d'Afrique, a Roman Catholic Church, was completed in 1872 and continues to serve as the basilica of Algiers. Lavishly decorated with mosaic patterns and religious pictures, the church has the following inscription on the curved wall behind the altar "Notre Dame d'Afrique priez pour nous et pour les Musulmans", meaning "Our Lady of Africa, pray for us and for the Muslims".

Algeria has a long, rather complicated history, in which religion has played a crucial role. Visiting some of the religious sites in Algeria will give tourists some insight into an aspect of daily life that is of great importance to the people who call this fascinating country home.

Saharan Algeria Region - Explore the Treasures of the Saharan Desert

Covering a vast area in the south of Algeria, the Saharan Algeria Region consists of desert terrain as far as the eye can see, with lush oasis towns and villages scattered throughout the region like precious gems in the sand. These settlements are often inhabited by families who have lived there for generations, many with fascinating tales to tell of the extensive history and fascinating culture of the people and of the area. Even the barren landscape between oasis towns has an undeniable beauty which thousands of visitors have come to appreciate.

The magnificent limestone plateau in Saharan Algeria known as the M'zab valley is considered to be of such historic significance that it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Exploring the ancient fortress cities in the M'zab valley is like taking a step back in time where life continues at a pace much different from the world's modern cities. The towns in the M'zab valley include Ghardaïa, Melika At Mlishet, El Guerara, Bounoura At Bunur, Bérianne, Beni Isguen At Isjen and El-Ateuf Tajnint.

Located deep in the Saharan Algeria Region, the city of Tamanrasset is popular with back-packers and campers, providing facilities for budget travelers who enjoy sleeping under the stars, as well as for visitors more accustomed to star-rated hotels. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Saharan Algeria Region is the Tassili n'Ajjer National Park, which is well worth visiting. The town of Illizi is both the capital of the Illizi Province in the Saharan Algeria Region and one of the gateways to the Tassili n'Ajjer National Park. Illizi offers tourist accommodation and camping sites, making it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding areas. Other towns in Saharan Algeria which are popular tourist destinations include Hassi-Messaoud, Touggourt, Chenachene, Djanet, El Golea, Reggane, Timimoun and Tindouf.

Ecotourism - Making the Most of Algeria's Natural Beauty

In Algeria, as with countries worldwide, ecotourism is an industry focused on tourism in the natural areas of the country. It both conserves the environment as well as sustains the livelihood of Algeria’s local people. Due to the expansive landscape and its great biodiversity, ecotourism in Algeria is ideal. Large areas of Algeria have been declared protected areas and an extensive network of National Parks has been established. Without a doubt, Algeria's ecotourism adventures are not to be missed.

Many tour operators in Algeria offer exciting ecotourism opportunities. From exploring Algeria's beautiful Mediterranean coastline to venturing into the Saharan Atlas mountains, the options are endless. When selecting a tour operator, ensure that they stick to the high standards of ecotourism. Such companies must promote good ecological practices, contribute to the preservation of natural areas and make use of local services - thus supporting development of the population. Eco-tour guides will be able to provide you with interesting information on the ecosystems, natural rock formations and wildlife of Algeria.

One of the most popular locations for ecotourism in Algeria is Tassili n'Ajjer National Park, located in southeast Algeria. The park includes a large section of the Tassili n' Ajjer mountain range. The sandstone composition of the mountains has resulted in the formation of amazing rock arches as well as contributing to the growth of woodlands in the park. Due to Tassili n'Ajjer's biological and archaeological significance, the National Park has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Adventure ecotourism in Algeria includes trekking, traveling by camel and horseback riding. All of these activities will not only acquaint you with the wonderful natural scenery of Algeria, but also the isolated communities scattered throughout the country.

If you are planning a vacation in Algeria, be sure to get in contact with an ecotourism company so that you can experience Algeria's wild side. Ecotourism in Algeria is a never to be forgotten adventure.

Cuisine of Algeria - A Delicious Blend of Many Cultures

Algerian cuisine 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. Each of these civilizations has helped to ensure that Algeria's cuisine is an eclectic mix of flavors, aromas and textures, served in a multitude of ways and very pleasing to the palate.

The Berber influence on Algerian cuisine is clearly seen in their use of stews, lamb, vegetables, grains and dried fruits. The Turks and Arabs have added spice to the mix as well as a variety of delicious pastries. French cuisine has contributed greatly to Algerian dishes with the use of tomato puree as well as in their aperitifs and sweets. You will be able to taste the distinct flavors of cumin, caraway, marjoram, coriander and fennel in Algerian cuisine. Typically, lamb and chicken are used in meals as well as fish from the Mediterranean. Algeria's national dish is Couscous, which is steamed and then served with meat, vegetables and sauce.

Coffee is popular in Algeria, but is served extremely strong along with a glass of water. However, the preferred drink in Algeria is tea with a hint of fresh mint. Fruit drinks are also commonly enjoyed.

Why not try out some of these dishes when sampling Algerian cuisine:

APPETIZERS

Mslalla - Marinated olives
Bourek - phyllo pastry stuffed with meat, egg and onion

MAIN MEALS

arabic-foodMechoui - charcoal roasted lamb
Merquez - spicy lamb sausages
Chorba - spicy lamb or chicken stew with vegetables
Dolma - stuffed vegetables
Harira - soup served at Ramadan
Loubia b'Dirsa - white bean stew
Badendjal - roasted aubergine salad
Slata bel Clementinas - onion and orange salad
Bissar - couscous served with chicken and dried vegetables
Djej bil Qasbour - coriander chicken
Brochettes - spicy kebabs
Kefta - meatballs with spices
Lahm bil Zitoun - Lamb and olives
Mderbel Qar'a - zucchini stew
Za'luka - aubergine ratatouille
Ros Bratel - saucy favas
Kesra - semolina bread
Harissa - spicy paste (condiment)

DESSERTS AND PASTRIES

Makroud - with dates or figs
Griouche - honey pastry
Kalb-el-louz - semolina, almond paste and rose water
Samsa - sweet filled pastry
Ghribia - sugar cookies
Rfis Tmer - date candies

Algerian Art Galleries - Displaying a Wealth of Creative Talent

There are a number of art galleries in Algeria that are well worth visiting as they provide insight into the culture and lives of the people who call this fascinating North African country home. Some art galleries focus on contemporary art whilst others might be more appropriately termed "museums" as they display artworks from bygone days. Algerian artwork may take the form of sculpture, graphic works, painting or craftwork, with superb examples being found in markets or galleries across the country. There is a large concentration of art galleries located in Algiers, the capital city of Algeria.

Algerians have always displayed artistic talent in their rendering of images, famous persons and their coin inscriptions. In older artworks, the beautiful script of the Arabic language is prominently featured. At times certain religious icons may have been drawn on for inspiration but, in general, artwork tends towards geometric shapes or takes on the likeness of very real people. There are a great many number of busts, printed art and fine art masterpieces on display in the country. Ancient sculptures and antiquities recovered from tombs can also be considered to be great Algerian artworks.

So if you're looking for an alternative to the hustle and bustle of the city or market places, why not visit an art gallery? The National Gallery of Fine Arts displays an impressive array of brilliant masterpieces from around the world and includes the likes of Delacroix and Renoir. However it also has an excellent display of local artists and you will find works by Racim, Temmam and Yelles exhibited in all their power and beauty. The Bardo National Museum features much older artworks and treasures rescued from the soil, while the National Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions certainly has no shortage of stunning artworks. If you're looking for a gallery outside of Algiers, try the Cirta National Museum of Constantine - definitely a gallery that shouldn't be missed. Don't miss out on a visit to the many art galleries of Algeria when you next visit the country!

Source: www.algeria.com/

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