Population 1.57 million (1998)
Area 363 km2
|District Algiers District|
|Points of interest Jardin dEssai du Hamma, Ketchaoua Mosque, Bardo National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography, Museum of Modern Art of Algiers, Notre Dame dAfrique|
Colleges and Universities University of Algiers, Polytechnic School of Algiers, Ecole Polytechnique dArchitecture et dUrbanisme
Algiers (Arabic: ?, al-Jaza’er; Algerian Arabic : ????? Dzayer, Berber: , French: ) is the capital and largest city of Algeria. According to the 1998 census, the population of the city proper was 1,519,570 and that of the urban agglomeration was 2,135,630. In 2009, the population was about 3,500,000. An estimate put the population at about 3,574,000 in 2010. Algiers is located on the Mediterranean Sea and in the north-central portion of Algeria.
Map of Algiers
Sometimes nicknamed El-Behdja (??????) or alternatively Alger la Blanche ("Algiers the White") for the glistening white of its buildings as seen rising up from the sea, Algiers is situated on the west side of a bay of the Mediterranean Sea. The modern part of the city is built on the level ground by the seashore; the old part, the ancient city of the deys, climbs the steep hill behind the modern town and is crowned by the casbah or citadel, 122 metres (400 ft) above the sea. The casbah and the two quays form a triangle.
A Phoenician commercial outpost called Ikosim which later developed into a small Roman town called Icosium existed on what is now the marine quarter of the city. The rue de la Marine follows the lines of what used to be a Roman street. Roman cemeteries existed near Bab-el-Oued and Bab Azoun. The city was given Latin rights by Emperor Vespasian. The bishops of Icosium are mentioned as late as the 5th century.
The present-day city was founded in 944 by Bologhine ibn Ziri, the founder of the Berber Zirid–Sanhaja dynasty. He had earlier (935) built his own house and a Sanhaja center at Ashir, just south of Algiers. Although his Zirid dynasty was overthrown by Roger II of Sicily in 1148, the Zirids had already lost control of Algiers to their cousins the Hammadids in 1014. The city was wrested from the Hammadids by the Almohads in 1159, and in the 13th century came under the dominion of the Ziyanid sultans of Tlemcen. Nominally part of the sultanate of Tlemcen, Algiers had a large measure of independence under amirs of its own due to Oran being the chief seaport of the Ziyanids.
As early as 1302 the islet of Penon in front of Algiers harbour had been occupied by Spaniards. Thereafter, a considerable amount of trade began to flow between Algiers and Spain. However, Algiers continued to be of comparatively little importance until after the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, many of whom sought asylum in the city. In 1510, following their occupation of Oran and other towns on the coast of Africa, the Spaniards fortified the islet of Penon and imposed a levy intended to suppress corsair activity.
Algiers is an important economic, commercial and financial center, with in particular a stock exchange with a capitalisation of 60 million euros. The city has the highest cost of living of any city in North Africa, as well as the 50th highest worldwide, as of March 2007, having gained one position compared to the previous year.