Facts About Algeria’s Culture, Geography, and History
Algeria is a country in North Africa bordered on the north by the Mediterranean Sea. Covering an area of 2,381,741 square kilometers, Algeria is the largest country in Africa and the tenth largest in the world. Its capital is the city of Algiers.
Algiers also holds the record for the city with the largest population in the country.
12. National animal is the Fennec fox
Characterized by its creamy fur, over-sized ears, slanted eyes and pointy nose, the Fennec fox roams the desert regions of Algeria. An interesting fact about this fox is that it can go without water for long periods.
It is the world’s smallest canid species and it is really quite cute to look at. It is, however, a nocturnal animal so your chances of spotting one are quite low. Algeria’s national football team (soccer) is named after the animal: “Les Fennecs”.
11. Official religion of Algeria is Islam
Algeria population is constituted to a large extent of Arab-Berbers. So it comes as no surprise that dominant and official religion of Algeria is Islam. As a result of this, the law system is based on the French court system and Sharia law.
The country’s colonial past explains the adoption of the French Court system in the proceedings of the country. Due to the large Muslim influence, it is illegal to proselytize (advocate or promote) any other religion to the people.
10. Algeria has some of the best dates in the world
In Algeria, the snack of choice is the date fruit. In fact, Algerian dates are some of the best dates on earth or so they say.
Large palm groves are a common feature of desert oasis towns. Not only are these fruits sweet and tasty, they are also quite nutritional.
Packed with a lot of nutrients, including vitamins and dietary fiber, they make for a healthy ingredient in a number of dishes. Visitors are traditionally greeted by being offered dates and milk.
9. Country has been ruled by Romans, Byzantines, Germanic tribes, Spaniards, Turks, and the French
Algeria has quite a rich history. This is largely due to the number of nations that have ruled the country. Ancient Algeria passed through many empires and dynasties. At some point in its history, it was being ruled by Byzantines, Turks, the Spanish, Romans and even Germanic tribes.
The inhabitants of Algeria converted to Islam when Muslim Arabs captured Algerian in the 7th century. The French ruled from 1830 to 1962 when Algeria gained its independence.
8. A mint tea known as Etzai is the most popular gift
Etzai, the mint tea popular all over North Africa, is the favorite gift. Drinking tea throughout the day is a social norm in Algeria and North Africa.
It is so much a part of their culture that there are tea rooms or tea bars where persons go to consume tea. As a result of this, teas especially mint teas make the perfect gift and are the most popular gift in Algeria.
Along with dates, teas are offered to guests in an Algerian home. It is considered disrespectful to decline tea when offered.
7. Algeria produces its own citrus fruit, grapes, cherries, figs, and dates
Even though only a small portion of Algeria’s land is arable, locals grow a variety of crops. On the coast grow citrus crops and wheat. In the south on in the desserts, date groves are a common site.
They produce and export so many dates that they are the 10th largest producer of dates in the world. The coastal region with its Mediterranean climate is home to a number of grape vineyards.
If you are a wine connoisseur and you happen to find yourself in Algeria, the Hauts Plateaux region is a great place to go for vineyard touring and wine tasting.
6. Home to 7 of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Algeria. As a result of the country’s rich history, there are many sites built by its former rulers and many by its indigenous people.These sites were marked as world heritage sites because of the wealth of information they have about a people and time long gone.
Among these sites are Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad and Tassili n’Ajjer. Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad consists of ruins that give visitors an idea of a fortified mosque in the 11th century. Be sure to check out next time you are in Algeria.
5. Only 12% of the country is inhabited, heavily covered by the Sahara
Despite Algeria’s size, not much of the country is inhabited. The Sahara Desert covers 90% of the land and with some the hottest temperatures ever recorded, it is not suitable for occupation. As a result of this, only 12% of the country has human communities.
Most of the country’s population is on the coast and the northern regions with its Mediterranean type climate.
4. Algeria is the largest country in Africa, 10th largest in the world
The largest country by area in all of Africa is Algeria and is the tenth-largest in the world. Because of its size, the climate, flora and fauna and topography vary across the country. In the northern region, the climate is characterized by warm summers and rainy winters.
Forests, vegetation, and mountains make up the flora and fauna of this here region. The south, on the other hand, consists of the Sahara Desert where some of the highest temperatures are recorded and up to three years go by without any rainfall.
3. Competed in every summer Olympics since 1964
Algeria has competed at every summer Olympics since 1964, winning five gold medals and 17 medals overall. Algeria gained most of its medals from competing in athletics. Athletics seems to be an area in which Algerians excel as the athletes won four of the five gold medals.
Other sports in which Algerians participate are boxing and judo.
2. A debt-free country, it owes no money to other countries
Algeria is one of the few countries in the world that can say it owes no other country. In 1995, the country’s external debt stood at 75%. Succeeding years saw a negative growth in the GDP. According to the latest national accounting, its external debt is so small that it is negligible.
Even though the country continues to earn significant revenue from natural gas exportation, a large number of Algerians live in absolute poverty. Unfortunately, one in every four of its citizens lives on less than a dollar a day.
1. Algeria primarily exports fossil fuels
A large percentage of the country’s earnings comes from its exportation of hydrocarbons. Algeria is the sixth largest exporter of natural gas and has the 10 largest natural gas reserve in the world.
Algeria’s significant revenue from its fossil fuels export classifies the country as an upper middle-income country. Successive governments have tried to develop other industries but high costs and bureaucracy continue to impede this process.
What to Read Next: Best African Cities & Towns – 25 of the Most Beautiful Cities in Africa