ALGERIAN Facts & Figures

Size: 919,595 square miles

Population: 35,423,000

Capital: Algiers

Currency: Algerian Dinar

 

Weather / Climate:

Northern AlgeriaWeather is in the temperate zone and enjoys a mild, Mediterranean climate. It lies within approximately the same latitudes as southern California and has somewhat similar climatic conditions. Its broken topography, however, provides sharp local contrasts in both prevailing temperatures and incidence of rainfall. Year-to-year variations in climatic conditions are also common.

In the Tell, temperatures in summer average between 21° C and 24° C and in winter drop to 10° C to 12° C. Winters are not cold, but the humidity is high and houses are seldom adequately heated. In eastern Algeria, the average temperatures are somewhat lower, and on the steppes of the High Plateaus winter temperatures hover only a few degrees above freezing. A prominent feature of the climate in this region is the sirocco, a dusty, choking south wind blowing off the desert, sometimes at gale force. This wind also occasionally reaches into the coastal Tell.

In Algeria only a relatively small corner of the Sahara lies across the Tropic of Cancer in the torrid zone, but even in winter, midday desert temperatures can be very hot. After sunset, however, the clear, dry air permits rapid loss of heat, and the nights are cool to chilly. Enormous daily ranges in temperature are recorded.

Rainfall is fairly abundant along the coastal part of the Tell, ranging from forty to sixty-seven centimeters annually, the amount of precipitation increasing from west to east. Precipitation is heaviest in the northern part of eastern Algeria, where it reaches as much as 100 centimeters in some years. Farther inland the rainfall is less plentiful. Prevailing winds that are easterly and northeasterly in summer change to westerly and northerly in winter and carry with them a general increase in precipitation from September to December, a decrease in the late winter and spring months, and a near absence of rainfall during the summer months.

Taken from http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/atlas/qt/climateAlgeria.htm

ALGERIAN languages

The official language of Algeria is (literary) Arabic, as specified in its constitution since 1963. In addition to this, Berber has been recognized as a "national language" by constitutional amendment since May 8, 2002. Between them, these two languages are the native languages of over 99% of Algerians, with Arabic spoken by about 83% (including bilingual Berbers) and Berber by 15% (excluding Berber-Arabic bilinguals) .[66] French, though it has no official status, is still widely used in government, culture, media (newspapers) and education (taught from primary school), due to Algeria's colonial history and can be regarded as being de facto the co-official language of Algeria. The Kabyle language, the most spoken Berber language in the country, is taught and partially co-official (with a few restrictions) in parts of Kabylia.

Arabic

Algerian colloquial Arabic is spoken as a native language by more than 83%( the figure includes bilingual berbers ) of the population; of these, over 78% speak Algerian Arabic and around 5% Hassaniya.[67] Algerian Arabic is spoken as a second language by many Berbers. However, in the media and on official occasions the spoken language is Standard Arabic

Berber

The Tuareg once controlled the central Sahara desert and its trade.

Berber dialects are spoken by around 40% of Algeria's population, mainly in Kabylia, in the Aurès, and in the Sahara (by Tuaregs), and also in and around Algiers, the capital city. Long before the Phoenicians' arrival, Berber was spoken throughout Algeria, as later attested by early Tifinagh inscriptions. Despite the growth of Punic, Latin and later, Arabic, Berber remained the main language of Algeria until the invasion of the populous Banu Hilal and Banu Sulaym tribal confederation in the 11th century.[citation needed]

Algerians speak one of the various dialects of Berber (native name: Tamazight), which add up to around 38%-45% of the population.[67] Arabic remains Algeria's only official language, although Berber has recently been recognized as a national language.[68]

French

French is the most widely studied foreign language in the country, and a majority of Algerians can understand it and speak it, though it is usually not spoken in daily life. Since independence, the government has pursued a policy of linguistic Arabization of education and bureaucracy, which has resulted in limiting the use of Berber and the Arabization of many Berber-speakers. The strong position of French in Algeria was little affected by the Arabization policy. All scientific and business university courses are still taught in French. Recently, schools have begun to incorporate French into the curriculum as early as children are taught written classical Arabic. French is also used in media and business. After a political debate in Algeria in the late 1990s about whether to replace French with English in the educational system, the government decided to retain French. English is taught in the first year of middle schools.

The Punic tongue, a Phoenician language, is believed to have been spoken in several areas of the country. The Punic language died out after the 6th century AD. Algerian cities have commonly been given Punic and ancient Roman names.

Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algeria#Languages

ALGERIAN culture

Islam

Islam is practised by the majority of Algerians and to a certain extent still governs their personal, political, economic and legal lives.
Islam emanated from what is today Saudi Arabia. The Prophet Muhammad is seen as the last of God's emissaries (following in the footsteps of Jesus, Moses, Abraham, etc) to bring revelation to mankind. He was distinguished with bringing a message for the whole of mankind, rather than just to a certain peoples. As Moses brought the Torah and Jesus the Bible, Muhammad brought the last book, the Quran. The Quran and the actions of the Prophet (the Sunnah) are used as the basis for all guidance in the religion. 
Among certain obligations for Muslims are to pray five times a day - at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening. The exact time is listed in the local newspaper each day.
Friday is the Muslim holy day. Everything is closed. Many companies also close on Thursday, making the weekend Thursday and Friday.
During the holy month of Ramadan all Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk and are only permitted to work six hours per day. Fasting includes no eating, drinking, cigarette smoking, or gum chewing. Expatriates are not required to fast; however, they must not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum in public.

The Family

The family is the most important unit of the Algerian social system and defines social relations.
The individual is always subordinate to the family or group.
The family comes above all else and we see this manifest in nepotism and the importance of honour.

The Concept of Honour

Honour is a foundation block of Algerian society.
Honour is delicately intertwined with a family's good name their reputation.
If someone is honourable, the family is honourable and if an individual is shamed the family is shamed.
As a result the behaviour of individual family members is viewed as the direct responsibility of the family.
Honour can be lost in many ways, for example Algerians believe that turning down a friend's request for a favour causes the other person to lose honour. Therefore, they will agree to do something rather than risk either party losing face.
Things to watch out for are criticizing others, insulting them, or putting them in a position that will be uncomfortable. By dishonouring someone you also spoil the relationship.

Taken from Wikipedia

ALGERIAN people

Ninety-one percent of the Algerian population lives along the Mediterranean coast on 12% of the country's total land mass. Forty-five percent of the population is urban, and urbanization continues, despite government efforts to discourage migration to the cities. Currently, 24,182,736 Algerians live in urban area, about 1.5 million nomads live in the Saharan area.

99% of the population is classified ethnically as Arab/Arab-Berber[1] and religiously as Sunni Muslim 96%, the few non-Sunni Muslims are mainly Ibadis 1.3% from the M'Zab valley (See Islam in Algeria). There is a small Roman Catholic and Protestant Christian community, who are mainly foreigners or immigrants. There are also almost 500 Jewish people, who mainly live in Bejaia. The Jewish community of Algeria, which once constituted 2% of the total population, has substantially decreased due to emigration, mostly to France and Israel.

Age structure

0–14 years: 25.4% (male 4,436,591/female 4,259,728)

15–64 years: 69.5% (male 11,976,965/female 11,777,618)

65 years and over: 5.1% (male 798,576/female 928,709) (2010 est.)

Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_people

ALGERIAN food

Algerian cuisine traces its roots to various countries and ancient cultures that once ruled, visited, or traded with the country. Berber tribesmen were one of the country's earliest inhabitants. Their arrival, which may extend as far back as 30,000 B.C., marked the beginning of wheat cultivation, smen (aged, cooked butter), and fruit consumption, such as dates.

The introduction of semolina wheat by the Carthaginians (who occupied much of northern Africa) led the Berbers to first create couscous , Algeria's national dish.

The Romans, who eventually took over Algeria, also grew various grains. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Algeria ranked among the top ten importers of grain (such as wheat and barley) in the world, according to ArabicNews.com.

Muslim Arabs invaded Algeria in the 600s, bringing exotic spices such as saffron, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon from the Spice Islands of eastern Indonesia. They also introduced the Islamic religion to the Berbers. Islam continues to influence almost every aspect of an Algerian's life, including the diet.

Olives (and olive oil) and fruits such as oranges, plums, and peaches were brought across the Mediterranean from Spain during an invasion in the 1500s. Sweet pastries from the Turkish Ottomans and tea from European traders also made their way into Algerian cuisine around this time.

In the early 1800s, Algerians were driven off their own lands and forced to surrender their crops and farmland to the French. The French introduced their diet and culture to the Algerians, including their well-known loaves of bread and the establishment of sidewalk cafés. This French legacy remains evident in Algerian culture. In fact, Algeria's second language is French. (Arabic is the official language.)

Tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, and chilies, significant to Algerian local cuisine, were brought over from the New World.

Ingredients

Algeria, like other Maghreb countries, produces a large range of Mediterranean fruits and vegetables and even some tropical ones. Lamb is commonly consumed. Mediterranean seafood and fish is also eaten and produced by the little inshore fishing.

Dishes

The khabz, traditional Arabic flatbread, is the base of Algerian cuisine and eaten at all meals. The main Algerian dish is merguez, a spicy lamb sausage, that originate from the Atlas mountains. Other common dishes include berber couscous, chakchouka, Karantita, pastilla that is a speciality from Tlemcen, chakhchoukha. Spices used in Algerian cuisine are dried red chillies of different kinds, caraway, ras el hanout, black pepper and cumin, among others.

There are also dishes of Spanish origin in Algeria, like the Gaspacho Oranais, an Algerian version of a Manchego dish.

Desserts and Drinks

Sweets like seasonal fruits are typically served at the end of meals. Common pastries include makroudh, nougat and asida. Halwa are cookies eaten during the month of Ramadan. Algerians are the second greatest consumers of honey per capita in the world. Mint tea is generally drunk in the morning and for ceremonies with pastries. Algerians are heavy coffee consumers and Turkish coffee is very popular. Fruit juice and soft drinks are very common and are often drunk daily. Algeria previously produced a large quantity of wine during the French colonization but production has decreased since its independence.

Taken from  Wikipedia and www.foodbycountry.com

Places to go in ALGERIA

The North Algiers

The capital has been a port since Roman times and many impressive ruins can still be seen, such as those at Djemila, Timgad and especially Tipasa (see below), which are all in good condition because of the dry desert climate. Algiers was commercialized by the French in the mid-19th century and much of the fabric of the city dates from this time. However, it still has a Maghrebfeel to it, with many zig-zag alleyways, mosques, a casbah, medersas (study houses) and the beautiful Turkish houses and palaces much admired by Le Corbusier. The

Bardo Ethnographic and Local Art Museum and the National Museum of Fine Arts are amongst the finest museums in North Africa.

Excursions
Within easy reach of Algiers along the coast lie some fine resorts. Zeralda is a beach resort with a holiday village and a replica nomad village. Tipasa has exceptional Roman, Punic and Christian ruins, and a Numidian mausoleum. The Chiffa Gorges and Kabylia in the mountains provide more rural scenery. Fig and olive groves in summer become ski resorts in the winter. To the east of Algiers, the Turquoise Coast offers rocky coves and long beaches within easy reach of the city, equipped with sports, cruise and watersports facilities. The Sidi Fredj peninsula has a marina, an open-air theater and complete amenities, including sporting facilities.

Oran
The western coast around Algeria’s second city has a similar range of beaches, historic remains and mosques. Along the coast from Oran, which is primarily a business center and an oil depot, there are a number of resorts, many with well-equipped hotels. Notable beaches include Ain El Turk, Les Andalouses, Canastel, Kristel, Mostaganem and Sablettes. Les Andalouses is the most developed and offers all types of watersports facilities and nightclub entertainment, as well as first-class accommodation.

The Hauts Plateaux
Tlemcen was an important imperial city from the 12th to 16th centuries. It stands in the wooded foothills of the Tellian Atlas and is a pleasant retreat from the stifling heat of high summer. Sights include the Grand Mosque, the Mansourah Fortress and the Almohad ramparts. Constantine, to the east, is a natural citadel lying across the River Rhumnel. Founded by the Carthaginians, who called it Cirta, it is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Algeria. Sights include the Ahmed Bey Palace (one of the most picturesque in the Maghreb) and the Djamma el-Kebir Mosque.

The Sahara
The Sahara is the most striking and also most forbidding feature of the country. Relatively uninhabited, the area is drawing increasing numbers of winter tourists. Accommodation, though generally good value, is often scarce in oasis regions, and during the season it is advisable to book in advance. Air Algérie operates frequent flights from Algiers to Ghardaia, Djanet and Tamanrasset, as well as to several smaller towns, oases and oil settlements, but services can be delayed in high summer owing to adverse weather conditions. Roads are much improved, although summer sand storms and winter rains can make all but the major routes hazardous.
The best way to enter the south is to cross the El Kautara Gorges to the south of Constantine. The sudden glimpse of the Sahara through the El Kautara Gorges is breathtaking. These gorges are said to separate the winter areas from the land of everlasting summer and are called Fouur Es Sahra (’the Sahara’s mouth’) by the inhabitants. Further down, most Algerian oases generally defy the European cliché of a small patch of palms forever threatened by encroaching dunes: they are often fairly large towns with highly organized, walled-in gardens with date palms, and mosques, shops and monuments.
Favorite starting places for exploring the Sahara are Laghouat, a town with a geometric plan, or the M’Zab Valley, which has seven typical holy towns and is inhabited by a Muslim fundamentalist sect called the Mozabites. Mozabite towns are distinguished by a characteristic minaret with four spires. The most famous among them is Ghardaia, coiled within a group of bare, ochre rocks. The streets, made of clay or paving stones, curl up through the blue and beige buildings towards the white obelisk of the minaret. Not far from Ghardaia, situated on a hill, is the holy town of Beni-Isguen, the four gates of which are constantly guarded. The special feature of this town is its permanent auction market. In the east of the M’Zab region is Ouargla, referred to as ’the golden key to the desert’. This town is well worth visiting for its malekite (an Islamic sect) minaret overlooking an expansive landscape. At the foot of the minaret lies the market square, the porticos of the souks and the terraced house roofs of the inhabitants. Further on is an oasis surrounded by palm trees and beyond that lie the beaches of the Sebkha.


Deeper into the south lies the town of El Goléa, referred to as ‘the pearl of the desert’ or ‘the enchanted oasis’ because of its luxuriant vegetation and abundant water. The town is dominated by an old ksar (fort) whose ruins are well preserved. Further south are the Hoggar Mountains, an impressive, jagged range reaching as far as Libya and surrounded by desert on all sides. It consists of a plateau made of volcanic rock. Eroded cliffs and granite needles form fascinating shapes in pink, blue or black basalt. At the top of the Assekreu nestles the famous refuge of Charles de Foucault at 2800m (9259ft). Mount Tahat, which belongs to the Atakor Massif, can be seen in the distance, reaching 3000m (9921ft) at its highest point. The picturesque capital, Tamanrasset, situated at the heart of the Hoggar Mountains, is full of life and character and is an important stopping place for commercial traffic traveling to and from West Africa. Being a large town with many hotels and restaurants, tourists often stay in ‘Tam’ (as it is sometimes called) and use it as a base for touring the Hoggar Mountains (the Assekreu and Charles de Foucault’s hermitage) or hiking in the open desert to the south and west in the company of camel drivers who carry their luggage. It is also a popular winter holiday resort and a center for oil exploration and exploitation. It is visited regularly by the camel caravans of les hommes bleus, blue-robed Touaregs, who are the ancient nomadic inhabitants of this wide region. They make their way around the inscrutable desert through an ancient knowledge of landmarks passed on from father to son. These nomads have a fair complexion, a blue veil over the lower half of their faces and are often very tall.


The tiny oasis of Djanet, another watering hole for commercial traffic and trans-Saharan expeditions, can be found in the Tassili N’Ajjer, or ’Plateau of Chasms’. This is a vast volcanic plateau crossed by massive gorges gouged out by rivers which have long since dried out or gone underground. The Tassili conceals a whole group of entirely unique rupestrian paintings (rock paintings), which go back at least as far as the neolithic age. The paintings, depicting daily life, hunting scenes and herds of animals, have a striking beauty and reveal ways of life several thousand years old. They spread out over a 130,000 sq km surface (50,000 sq miles) and form an extraordinary open-air museum which has been miraculously conserved, owing to the pure quality of the air. Tours of the Tassili Plateau and the rupestrian paintings, as well as long-distance car treks in the Ténéré are available, lasting from one day to two weeks. These visits are organized by private agencies run by the Tuareg and most of them offer a high-quality service. Tourists are collected at the airport (either Djanet or Tamanrasset) and the agency provides them with transportation (usually in 4-wheel-drive vehicles), mattresses and food, although travelers must bring their own sleeping bags.

Taken from iexplore.com

Doing business in ALGERIA

If you wish to do business in Algeria you will likely have to learn a bit about the culture and people to make it successful. There are some unique customs in Algeria and most of the locals speak Arabic - making successful negotiations an art. Many also speak French which can be helpful. There are also a few formalities which - when noted - help the whole process to go over more smoothly. Some of these practices are mentioned below.

Taking into account the country's history of conflict, it is understandable that Algerians tend to be more trusting when they have established who it is they are dealing with. Therefore it is good practice to spend time developing a rapport and building trust with potential clients. Their concept of personal space is also rather different to that of the average European or American. Algerians tend to stand very close and sometimes hold each other's arms. This is merely a part of the culture and you would do best to imitate it. Never embarrass your client - especially in public - and keep in mind that any favors you do will likely be repaid.

If you plan to make use of business cards, it is usually a good idea to have them translated into French and/or Arabic and remember to always use your right hand to give and receive. Appointments are best made far in advance and confirmed a day or two before the meeting. Remember that Algeria is mainly a Muslim country so do not try to make appointments that conflict with religious observations. It is also good practice to be on time for meetings but you may have to wait for your Algerian business partner. Meetings may be interrupted by non-related parties and these may temporarily distract the people you are meeting with. The conversation will likely return to the subject at hand once the person leaves. Women are not perceived to be equals as business associates and, if possible, a male representative should be involved when doing business in Algeria.

Taken from http://www.algeria.com/

ALGERIA: useful links

http://www.algeriantourism.com/v4/index.php

http://www.algerianembassy.org.uk/

http://www.algeriaairlines.com/

http://www.radioalgerie.dz/ar/

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