“La Blanche” (white) and “bahja” (cheerful) – under these two names, the capital of Algeria – the city of Algiers (Alger) is known to the world of the western and eastern. Multi-million, but surprisingly bright, cozy and peaceful, Algiers is a metropolis carefully monitoring its appearance, the second largest city in North Africa. The abundance of expensive cars here coexists well with the mysticism of the labyrinths of the old city, the ancient ruins are washed by the gentle waves of the Mediterranean Sea, and the hot breath of the Sahara is heard from the south.
How to get there
The national air carrier Air Algerie operates a regular flight Moscow (Sheremetyevo) – Algiers with a frequency of once a week from the end of March to the end of October and once every two weeks in winter; in both cases – on Tuesdays. Travel time is about 5 hours. Another flight option is with a transfer in Europe: Air France via Paris, Alitalia via Rome or Milan, Lufthansa via Frankfurt, Turkish Airlines via Istanbul, etc.
According to wholevehicles, Algiers International Airport (Aéroport d’Alger Houari Boumediene) is located 20 km from the city center; You can cover this distance by shuttle bus or taxi. The shuttle departs from the airport building every half an hour from 8:00 to 17:30. The fare is 70 DZD.
The taxi rank is located directly in front of the exit from the airport. Payment must be agreed before boarding the car, as a rule, the trip costs 1000 DZD during the day. The road takes about half an hour.
How to navigate in the city
Like most Arab cities with a more or less ancient history, Algeria is divided into two parts: starting from the water’s edge and on the coastal lowland, there is a modern city. Above it, the old city is clinging to the steep slopes of the hill, and it, in turn, is crowned by a military fort – the kasbah.
Transport in the city
The Kasbah area is almost entirely pedestrian. For the rest of the city, it is most convenient to travel by taxi, since cars flood the streets of Algiers in a dense stream and finding a free one is a matter of a few minutes (except for rush hours and weekends). Taxis are supposed to be metered; in practice this is not always the case. Discuss the cost with the taxi driver before the start of the trip; in the city it should not exceed 500 DZD. Minibuses (taxi collective) also run briskly along the main streets of the city. If you know the direction of the trip, you can safely use this mode of transport: just wave your hand from the side of the approaching car. The fare will cost 30 DZD; Tell the driver loudly when you need to get off.
In addition, you can travel around the city by bus: there is a very extensive network of routes. In most cases, the names of the destinations are in Arabic, so you should check with the local population waiting at the bus stop if the bus is heading in the direction you need. The entrance is through the back door, the conductor is waiting here. The fare is about 30 DZD.
To date, the metro of the city of Algiers is undergoing reconstruction and is not operational.
Renting a car to move around the city is not recommended: the local driving style is best described by the expression “to the characteristic knock”, in addition, there are obvious problems with parking spaces in the city.
Cuisine and restaurants in Algeria
In addition to general Algerian (and general Maghribian) dishes: vegetable salads, shorba soup, couscous, sweets, delicious fish and seafood are cooked in the capital. Dorada, seabass, meru, swordfish can be grilled and baked in the oven, as well as garnished with various vegetables, rice and french fries. The city of Algiers has many restaurants of local, Mediterranean, French and Italian cuisines and a lot of national and Middle Eastern fast foods. Catering establishments are literally on every corner.
Alcohol is served in Algerian restaurants far from everywhere; if you want to accompany your meal with wine, please clarify this point before seating at the tables. There are separate bars in the capital, and alcoholic drinks are also served in large hotels.
Shopping and stores
Souvenir shops and artisan shops are located mainly in the Kasbah area and on the streets of the old city. Popular national goods are leather goods, embossing, wooden kitchen utensils and interior items, carpets and mats, silver jewelry with Berber motifs. The main shopping artery here is rue Didouche Mourad.
In a modern city, you can buy an assortment of European stalls: clothes, shoes, perfumes, etc. Pay attention to French brands – here they are sold at very reasonable prices.
Entertainment and attractions in Algiers
Architectural monuments are concentrated mainly in the old city. Among the noteworthy buildings are three historical mosques – Jemaa al-Kebir (Great Mosque), the oldest in the city, Jemaa al-Jedid (New Mosque), built in the 17th century under Turkish rule, and Jemaa-Kechaua, erected under dei Hassan in late 18th century.
It is most peaceful to walk along the streets of the Kasbah in the company of a local; girls unaccompanied by men are advised to use the services of a certified guide, for example, from the Society of Friends of the Kasbah.
The sights of the modern city include the Monument to the Fallen (in memory of the liberation struggle of the Algerians for independence) and the building of the Central Post Office in the traditional Arabic style.
The abundance of expensive cars here coexists well with the mysticism of the labyrinths of the old city, the ancient ruins are washed by the gentle waves of the Mediterranean Sea, and the hot breath of the Sahara is heard from the south.
We recommend visiting the wonderful museums of the city: the Museum of National Heritage of Bardo (Musée du Bardo), which occupies a magnificent palace of the Ottoman era, and tells about the history of the country from the sites of the first people to independence, the Historical Museum (Musée National des Antiquités), the Museum of Folk Arts and Crafts (Musée National des Arts Traditionnels et Populaires) and the Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux Arts).
For a walk, head to the Jardin d’Essai and swim to the nearby beaches of Zeralda and Sidi Ferros.
68 km from the capital are the ruins of the Phoenician and, later, the Roman city of Tipaza with the majestic mausoleum of the kings of Mauritania.