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Algiers

75 541 habitants
flag Algeria Algeria

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Presentation

The history of Alger Centre (the city centre of the capital) merges, like a piece of a giant puzzle, with the history of Algiers, and more generally with Algerian history. Its origins go back to more than 10.000 years BC with the Iberomaurusian civilisation, which corresponds to the man of Mechta Al Arbi.

After this period, Capsian civilisations get mixed up with the Proto Mediterranean (7000-5000 BC) and the Neolithic (6500-2000 BC), corresponding to the advent of first Mediterranean individuals in Septentrional Sahara around 3000 years BC.

The name of Algiers derives from Al Djazair, which means “rocky islands” in Arabic, these rocky islands that we can find at the foot of the Mediterranean Sea.

Initially, Phoenicians gave the land the name of Ikosim, meaning “the island of impure birds”, or “the island of seagulls”. It became Ikosium under the Roman Empire. Around 960 AD, the prince Bologhine Ibn Ziri Ben Menad restored the city and gave it the name of Al Djazair Beni Mezghenna. Al Djazair then became Algiers for the French. In 1962, the city became the official capital of the Algerian State.

Alger Centre is a municipality of the Wilaya (region) of Algiers. With a population of 75 541 inhabitants, it occupies a territory that spread on 3.7 square kilometres of surface area. It shares its frontiers with four other municipalities, Sidi M’Hamed in the South and the West, Belouizdad in the South-East, the Kasbah and Oued Koriche in the North and North-West. Its Eastern side is exposed to the Mediterranean Sea.

From a geomorphological perspective, Alger Centre is made like a sum of spines, with flat summits and soft hills, whose altitude goes from the sea level to more than 120 metres on the heights of the city. Most of the territory lies on a land made of schist rocks, with some granite and sandstones. Its soil is saturated, often stony and of variable deepness. We can also note the presence of tuf, a limestone.

The city is known for the diversity of its craft jobs, which is revealing of the multicultural origins of its local population. These jobs offer a label to the city but are also generate life and social opportunities for many people in the region.

It is a city of art and culture.

To create, with all municipalities of the Wilaya in general, and with Alger Centre in particular, a cultural life with the ambitions of an international metropolis, a broad program of cultural, artistic, educational, sportive and familial manifestations has been elaborated. The aim is to open the city and its districts to arts and culture and to foster those who can participate to the flourishing of different forms of expression.

Great places

La grande poste (“the great post office”)

It remains an emblematic building of the neo-Moorish period in Algeria, which had a remarkable momentum under the authority of general Governor Jonnart, named in 1903. The main characteristic of this building appears through the two cupolas that mark the articulation of the façade’s angles.

The Art school

The school presents a spatial organisation in the shape of an H, which is identified by two longitudinal wings and a transversal wing. The building was created in 1950 by architects L. Claro and J. Darbeda.

The El Aurassi hotel

On the heights of the capital, with 13 floors and a surface area of 125 850 square meters, this hotel dominates the bay of Algiers. With its multiple rooms, it is mainly used for business and political events, organising symposiums, conferences and congresses.

The national museum of Islamic arts and Antiquity

The museum started to acquire its first Islamic collections in 1846. It is the oldest African and Algerian museum.

The Zighoud Youcef Palace

The official architect of the French general government, M. Darbeba, started to study on this project in 1912. The building of the palace took place in 1917. Since 1998, the Palace is used by the “Council of the Nation”, the high chamber of the Algerian Parliament.

The civic centre

After having abandoned the idea of transforming the local casino to make it the new civic centre, the Brunel municipality decided to build a new town hall. It started in 1935 and ended in 1950, notably because of the advent of WW2.

The Sacré Coeur Cathedral

The church became a cathedral on December, 13th 1962. Its architects used the concept of a tent to imagine the shape of the cathedral. It is the only North African mosaic that is dated (324 AD). It comes from the first Basilica of Castrum Tingitanum (Orléansville). This unique piece of Antic Christian art is the most ancient representation of Church under the shape of a labyrinth.

The Lafayette Building

This building is at the heart of Alger Centre. Its main characteristic is the use of a metallic structure, made of two twinned girders, spaced in such a way that they can receive transversal doors and continuous beams from façade to façade.

The National Library

Founded in 1835, it is the oldest cultural place in Algeria. It had a double dimension, being a standard North African library and a library of general documentation, with an Encyclopaedic character. It can welcome 600 readers in its reading rooms and has more than 2 million books. Its shelving spread over 17 kilometres.

The University of Algiers

The first faculty was opened in 1887, with four different schools, under the presidency of chief education officer Jean Maire.

Position géographique