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The Polisario, however, was outlawed by Morocco and is currently in exile. Although there have been protests by the Sahrawi in Western Sahara, Algeria and the Polisario have not engaged in armed conflicts with the Moroccans since the UN-issued ceasefire in There are approximately 90, Sahrawi refugees living in Algeria-sponsored camps. Since , there have been talks between Morocco, Algeria and the Polisario to decide the future of the Western Sahara, with neither Algeria nor the Polisario willing to accept anything less than independence.

The border with Morocco is another source of tension, as both nations claim the other is harboring militants. This dispute dates back to the s during the Algerian Civil War, in which Algeria accused Morocco of supporting the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, a terrorist organization.

In , after Morocco accused Algeria of being complicit in a bombing in Marrakesh and deported a majority of Algerians in the country, Algeria closed its border indefinitely. The border remains closed to this day, although Morocco has indicated its desire for its reopening. Algeria has been unreceptive to the rhetoric of Moroccan officials, claiming the reopening of the border would be detrimental to national security.

Given the nature of tribal Imazighen culture, which is not divided by state lines, the closed border has had a profound impact on familial relations as movement between the adjoining countries is restricted. In recent years the Algerian government has halted the privatization of state-owned industries and imposed restrictions on imports and foreign involvement in its economy. Oil and natural gas account for over 90 percent of exports and around 40 percent of GDP, which means Algeria is very sensitive to changes in the energy market.

With declining revenues caused by falling oil prices, the government has been under pressure to reduce spending. The government has, however, refrained from directly reducing subsidies, particularly for education, healthcare, and housing programs. Despite some changes to the economic structure, formal-sector unemployment and housing shortages remain high. Long-term economic challenges for Algeria include diversifying the economy away from its reliance on hydrocarbon exports, bolstering the private sector, attracting foreign investment, and providing adequate jobs for younger Algerians.

The official language of the country is Arabic, although French is used for business and administrative tasks. The largest of these are the Kabylies, who live in the Kabylia Mountains east of Algiers and speak the Kabylie language. Finally, the Tuaregs, a traditionally nomadic people, travel through neighboring countries such as Mali, Niger, and Libya. They can be found in the Sahara desert in Algeria and speak Tuareg.

The Berber people lived in Africa long before the arabization of Algeria in the mid-seventh century and their culture dates back almost 4, years. The average Algerian child can expect free and compulsory education for 9 years of primary school, starting at age 6. It offers degrees in law, Islamic sciences and medicine. Healthcare is slowly improving in Algeria.

Algeria slightly exceeds the WHO recommended ratio of physicians to patients at 1. An immunization program is offered by the government, but poor sanitation and unclean water still causes cases of hepatitis, cholera, and dysentery, though they are infrequent. The poor receive free healthcare, and the wealthy are charged for healthcare based on a sliding scale.

Healthcare access is increasing due to regulations that require all physicians to work in the public health sector for at least five years. Physicians are generally easier to access in the northern parts of the country than in the southern Sahara. Al-Muwatta is a collection of rituals, rites, customs, traditions and laws from the life of the Prophet Muhammad.

Christianity first appeared in Algeria during the Roman Empire and started to disappear with its collapse, although interest in it was revitalized under the Byzantines. In the 7th century, after the Arab invasions, it disappeared entirely and did not return until the French colonization of Algeria. Today the number of Christian Algerians is small, and there is limited freedom of religion. Although there are ordinances in place that allow non-Sunni Muslims to worship as they please, in practice, the rights of Jews, Christians and other Muslims to worship in public are often restricted.

Worshippers in religious minorities often meet in secret or informally, as only Sunni Muslims have the full protection of the law.


In addition, the Algerian constitution bans non-Muslims from holding high-level government positions. There is also a ban on proselytizing, which prevents open religious discussions, and Muslim converts to Christianity face imprisonment, fines, or pressure to revert back to Islam. Algerian culture is a unique blend of tradition and outside influence. Over the centuries it has been formed by the influence of three different civilizations: Arab, African, and Mediterranean.

The geographical position of Algeria has facilitated exposure to a variety of cultures and the mixing of several cultures at once, through trade for instance. Largely thanks to its rich history, and geographical location, Algerian cuisine reflects a variety of cultural influences. Durum wheat was a staple of the Berbers. When it is steamed it turns into couscous, which remains a staple of Algerian cooking to this day. Other kinds of grain — such as bulgur wheat and barley — can also be steamed in a couscoussier to create different varieties of couscous.

Locally-grown crops such as potatoes, tomatoes, onions, chickpeas, olives and dates are common ingredients in Algerian dishes. In Saharan regions, dates and figs and hard cheeses are eaten with flat unleavened breads baked over fires. Many dishes, especially stews, soups and sausages, have a hot or spicy flavor. The Ottoman Turks brought sweet pastries to the region. Many local sweets incorporate the staple wheat, such as tamina , into pastries or desserts. The wheat can for example be roasted with butter and honey. In former Spanish-controlled cities, such as Oran, dishes like paella are popular.

Algerian people have a strong sartorial tradition that isis still adhered to today. Folk dresses are commonly worn, especially in rural areas. Many local designers use the traditional features of Algerian outfits in modern clothes. Western dress is very common in Algeria as well. A burnous is a long woolen cloak with a hood traditionally used by Algerian men. Many Algerian garments are hooded because of the practical uses associated with hoods for the Algerian climate.

It protects the wearer from the sun, desert winds, and sand, and in the mountain regions it protects from the cold, rain, and snow. Usually, the burnous is white and made from the fine thin wool.

A burnous is often very festive, decorated with embroidery, tassels, and patterns on the fabric. This garment is used in several Arab countries. Another piece of Algerian traditional clothing is a djellaba , a garment that is used in several North African countries. It is a loose, long-sleeved robe with a hood, used by both men and women. The color of a djellaba tells the marital status of the wearer: light colors for married men and dark brown color for bachelors. Traditionally it was ankle-length or ground-length but modern djellabas are a little shorter. Traditional female outfits are usually bright and colorful, with rich decorations in gold and silver threads.

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The modest clothing is often fitted with lace, patterns on the fabric, jewelry, and so on. Algerian women wear different long dresses that cover their body from head to toe. Commonly, the traditional loose trousers are worn underneath the dress. Most Algerians are Muslim, so the women tend to cover their heads with types of veils. It always consists of a velvet jacket embroidered with gold threads.

The traditional Algerian male headdress is a fez. It is a felt, tight-fitting cap in the shape of a short cylinder. Usually, a fez is red. The fez is particularly popular in the countries that used to be a part of the Ottoman Empire. Watch the video below for a rare glimpse at traditional life in Algeria when Aljazeera goes behind the scenes at three weddings in western part of the country.

Algerian literature has a rich history, but only gained prominence outside of Algeria during the early to midth century. Camus was a philosopher, novelist and playwright, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in Most of his stories are set in Algeria and he supported civil rights for the indigenous Algerians.

However, Camus opposed Algerian independence, which has damaged his reputation in his homeland. Frantz Fanon emerged as a revolutionary writer and figure for Algeria during its struggle for independence from France. Fanon was born in Martinique, but moved to Algeria in , a year before the uprising against the French began. He devoted much of his life to supporting the independence movement of Algerians and wrote about the cultural and political struggles of decolonization movements globally. Chaabi is a combination of classical Arab and Andalusian music with traditionally deep moral messages of love, loss, celebration, and friendship.

He was an accomplished musician who recorded over songs on albums throughout his lifetime. By far the most popular type of modern music is Rai, a mixture of Western and traditional Algerian Bedouin nomadic music. Its popularity has spread to France, Spain and other Middle Eastern countries. The first is the Large Wild Fauna Period, which depicts the relationship the people had with the animals.

The second is the Round Head Period, which shows human-like figures with large featureless round heads. The third is the Pastoral Period, which focuses on when the indigenous Algerians became dependent on pastoral animals, followed by the Horse Period, which begins showing men with weapons and chariots. The final period is the Camel Period, which depicts camels and uses the Taureg language. Algerian artists are known for their intricate paintings, sculptures and woven tapestries.

His miniature paintings are hand-painted in water color or oil and are no more than a few inches in dimension. They usually contain historical recreations or depict everyday cultural events. A popular style of modern art displays abstract calligraphy and decorative traditions of Islamic art such as traditional signs and symbols , combined with contemporary abstract art.

Algeria: Country profile | News | Al Jazeera

Certain artists, for example, look to traditional Berber art for symbols, which they might use as structural elements in their works, amplifying some and reinventing others, as in the work of the Algerian artist Rashid Koraishi. Rashid begins with Arabic calligraphic scripts and incorporates symbols, glyphs and ciphers drawn from a wide variety of languages and cultures. The Great Mosque of Algiers is the oldest mosque in the capital, from CE, and one of the oldest in the nation. This cathedral was founded in and converted into a public library in It is also the birthplace of Rai music.

Roman ruins are common throughout the country and two of the best known are Timgad and Djemila. Djemila is notable for the adaptation of Roman architecture to a mountain environment. It was built in the first century C. Mzab Valley, miles south of Algiers and in the heart of the Sahara, refers to the five fortified villages ksour that make up the area. The five villages circle a mosque and are known as the Pentapolis.

Mzab Valley was established between and CE and exemplifies communal living in a harsh environment.

Algeria: Country profile

It also has more than natural arches. Read more about the pictographs in the art section above. Fantasia, or lab el baroud the gunpowder play , is an event where a group of horsemen charge their horses at the same speed to a certain location, where they must fire muskets or muzzle-loading rifles in the air at the same time, with the goal of sounding as if only one rifle has been shot. Fantasia remains popular today.

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Football U. Boxing is a relatively new sport to Algeria. The French introduced Algerians to the sport in and within 9 years, 11 major boxing clubs had formed.

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It remains popular to this day. Algeria has participated in all but one of the Summer Olympic Games , winning five gold, four silver and eight bronze medals. Algeria has also been represented at 3 winter games but has yet to win a medal. Click to visit page. Click here to visit. Geography Resources. The FIS won of the contested seats in the first round of the elections. In , the military stepped in, annulled the final stage of the poll and banned the FIS - a decision that led to civil war.

For more than a decade, a brutal civil war claimed the lives of tens of thousands, with the government battling Islamist opposition and militant groups. In , an amnesty covering all fighters was announced and, since then, most of the resistance has slowly abated although the early s saw a spate of fresh violence. French traditions formerly dominated cultural life.

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However, even before independence, there was a growing movement among artists and intellectuals to revive national interest in Arab-Berber origins, a movement that, since , has gained official support. Sources: World Bank, countryreports.

The Biggest Country in Africa (ALGERIA)

Pick your team and answer as many correct questions in three minutes. Since March , Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19, air raids across Yemen. Improving eco-efficiency within a capitalist growth-oriented system will not save the environment. Toggle navigation. Algeria: Country profile Algeria's history has been blighted by the long and hard rule of the French, who occupied the country for more than a century from Map and flag of Algeria.

Historical background The indigenous tribes of Algeria, identified by the Romans as Berbers since the fifth century BCE, have been profoundly influenced by the cultural impact of Arab civilisation which arrived in the 11th century. Modern political history Modern Algeria is, quite literally, shaped by French colonisation.

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