20 Amazing Facts about Algeria That Will Blow Your Socks Off

A map of Algeria

Algeria is considered to be one of the most hospitable and friendliest countries in North Africa. Plus, with its attractive coastline and the sprawling Sahara desert, it is also home to several historical and cultural sites tourists flock to visit. Whether you are just brushing up on your general knowledge or want to pay this amazing country a visit, these fascinating Algeria facts will astound you.

Top 20 Algeria Facts That Will Make You Fall In Love with It

1. ‘Algeria’ Is Not Its Real Name

The official name of the country is a mouthful – People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria. The national holiday is called ‘Revolution Day’ since it honors the country’s bid for independence decades ago.

2. It Has Three National Languages

While the official language of the country is Arabic (Algeria Arabic is called ‘derja’), Algerians also speak French and Berber aka Amazigh or Tamazight. While English is not spoken on the streets, it is taught in schools.

3. The National Animal Is Heckin’ Adorable!

With its cute oversized ears, pointy nose, creamy fur and small stature, the Fennex fox is native to the deserts of Algeria. It has adapted remarkably well to the harsh environment – this clever fox can go for days without having a single drop of water!

The Fennec fox is also a nocturnal animal so you may not spot one at all during your visit unless you are really lucky. The Algerian national football team is also named after it (Le Fennecs).

4. Algerian Dates Are Some of the Best in the World

Dates are the snacks of choice in this country and for good reason. The delectable fruit is sweet and packed with nutrients such as vitamins and dietary fiber. In fact, most Algerians would welcome guests in their home by offering them dates with milk. No wonder there are so many palm groves in the country.

5. The Country Was Beset By Invaders

Algeria has a rich and diverse culture and most of it is because it was invaded and ruled over by several countries. These include Spain, Rome, Germany, Turkey and also by the Byzantine Empire. When Muslim Arabs conquered the country in the 7th century and the French also ruled the country for more than a century.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

6. Algeria has over seven UNESCO Sites

Algeria is a must-visit for history buffs because it is one of the few places in the world where they can find seven UNESCO sites in one place. These include the ancient coastal remains of the city of Kasbah of Algiers, the ancient villages of M’Zab Valley, the ruins of Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad, the Beni Hammad Fort, Djemila, Timgad, and Tipasa.

7. Algerians Are Known For Their Hospitality

You will never leave an Algerian’s home on an empty stomach. That is how hospitable they are towards guests. In fact, they often invited friends and family members over for tea just to enjoy their company and to catch up on the latest gossip.

8. The Endangered Sahara Cheetah Can Be Found There

There are only 250 Saharan cheetahs (aka Northwest African cheetah) remaining in the Sahara desert and most of them are in Algeria. These speedy carnivores are recognizable by their short coats and pale coloration. Sadly, they are about to go extinct because of hunting and habitat loss.

9. The US Army Used To Import Camels from Algeria

Till the 1870s, the US army used to import camels from Algeria. A special ship called the USS Supply was used to transport the animals to the US.

A fountain at Touggourt at night

10. It Has a Varied Climate

Despite being mostly desert, Algeria has a surprisingly varied climate. Some parts of the country don’t receive any rain while others get more rain than London! Plus, temperatures can range anywhere from -6°C to 40°C.

11. The Algerian Flag Is Highly Symbolic

The existing Algerian flag is loaded with symbolic meaning and it was adopted in 1962. The red symbolizes the blood of Algerians who lost their lives fighting for their country’s independence from France, the green symbolizes nature and the white represents peace. Similarly, the crescent and red star represent the religion of Islam.

That’s not all. What makes the flag particularly unusual is that each color has its own specific wavelength.

12. Finding Alcohol in Algeria Is No Easy Task

Alcohol is seldom seen for sale in Algeria out in the open since the beverage is forbidden in Islam. That’s why you will find very few restaurants that offer it in the country. A restaurant that offers it will not list it on the menu. You will have to ask for it yourself.

Alcohol was prohibited in the country in 2005 which forced the sale and consumption underground. Unfortunately, it has also lead to an increase in public health hazards.

Native gazelle of Algeria

13. Algeria Is a Debt-Free Country

Algeria does not owe any money to any countries. It is completely debt-free. However, what is ironic is that most Algerians live well below the poverty line.

14. It Is Home To Two Nobel Prize Winners

Algeria is home to Albert Camus and Claude Cohen-Tannoudi. The latter developed methods to coo and trap atoms with laser light and the former won the prize in Literature.

15. Algerian Cuisine Is a Blend of Influences

Traditional Algerian cuisine is a mix of influences because the country was invaded by several countries over the years. So you will find food that is a delightful blend of Arab, Turkish, Berber and French dishes. That is why most Algerians will have saffron, coriander, onions, garlic, cumin, parsley and garlic in their pantries.

16. Mint Tea Is a Popular Gift

A mint tea called ‘Etzai’ is quite popular in North Africa and is considered a good gift for Algerians. They drink it throughout the day and the tea has become such a vital part of the culture, that the people have actually set up special tea bars where anyone can enjoy it. Besides milk, guests are given Etzai tea and dates as a sign of respect. Whatever you do, don’t decline it. You will disrespect your host.

17. Algeria Is the Largest Country in Africa

Algeria is not only the largest country in Africa, it is also the 10th largest in the world. Because of its huge size, climate, topography, flora and fauna differ across the country. For example, the climate in the north remains warm and experiences rainy winters. The south on the other hand, comprises mostly of the Sahara desert which can get quite hot and can go years without experiencing any rainfall.

18. It Has Extensive Deposits of Hydrocarbon

Algeria is known for its extensive sulfur-free light crude oil which was discovered in the Sahara desert way back in the mid-1950s. Plus, deposits of natural gas were also discovered in 1956 and other locations. It is because of this that the country ranks among as one of the top ones in terms of gas reserves and exports. In fact, almost all of the foreign exchange earnings of the country come from the export of natural gas and petroleum products.

19. Women Have a Prominent Role in Algeria

Women play significant roles in Algeria unlike other Islamic countries. More than 50% of Algerian judges, the student population and lawyers are women. It is little wonder that the women make a larger contribution to their households compared to Algerian men.

20. It has UFOs

There have been several UFO sightings in the North African country since 1970 and the first one was in Algiers. Some caves also feature art that depicts aliens. Besides Algiers, UFO sightings were also reported in Setif, Oued Bakrat, Oran and Guerrara.

Algeria from the Eyes of Famed Travelogger, Drew Binsky

Accordign to Drew Binsky, imagine Texas, California and Alaska crammed into one land mass and you will have Algeria. That’s how massive the country is. Most of the country is unknown by the outside world, but the aforementioned Algeria facts will surely entice you into visiting.

Summary

Big, beautiful and culturally rich with an amazing history, Algeria has something for every traveler that goes there. From super friendly people to a dichotomous landscape, the country is a study in resilience that anyone can be inspired by. These Algeria facts were just the tip of the iceberg that this country has to offer.

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