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Introducing Algeria

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Algiers coastline © damouns

Algeria is not generally considered to be a tourist destination and despite a gradual decline in violence between the 1990s and now, there has been an increase over the last four years in attacks directed specifically at foreigners. A copycat Al-Qaeda organisation has orchestrated violent attacks on UN workers and Americans in particular. That said, for those who can't avoid travel to the region, Algeria is not short on sightseeing opportunities.

The capital city of Algiers, sitting on the northern coastline, is a growing metropolis. Once a strategic point of entry for would be conquerors from Europe and the Middle East, it now welcomes the presence of multi-nationals such as Carrefour and Quick. Historically the most popular remnant of battles waged on the city's coast is the Cashbah, the labyrinth citadel (now a world heritage site) which was first built in 1660. Also along the coast is Tipasa, a pleasant seaside village which holds some spectacular Roman ruins. Timgad, which is further south, holds North Africa's most extensive and best preserved Roman Ruins.

Typically Mediterranean in climate, Algeria has warm sandy beaches, particularly around Oran, a popular tourist destination in the summer months. The infamous Sahara Desert begins right where the coast ends, rocky at first, elevating over the vast Haut Plateaux (High Plateaus) before becoming untold miles of sand and sun. In the far south of Algeria is the Hoggar mountain region which holds the nation's highest peak, the Tahat Mountian, and caverns of rock paintings dating back to the time of the Berbers, over 10,000 years ago.

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