Kasbah of Algiers
Military and trade.
Capital of Algeria.
Location and siteLocated next to the Bouzareah massif, near the rich Mitidja plain, the Casbah of Algiers was constructed on a steep slope (118 m. high). It faces the harbour bay and the Mediterranean Sea.
The Casbah (a term which applies to the old city in its entirety) occupies a triangular space between the citadel, at the the summit of the hill, and the seaside. A tight network of narrow and tortuous streets and lanes, cut with stairs, is laid out on the sloped site. Occasionally it opens up into urban squares, such as the Cheik Ben Badis, which is the centre of the old city.
In the Casbah of Algiers, the principles of Turkish military architecture are combined with Moorish architectural traditions and, more generally, Arab-Mediterranean traditions. The white houses, with their flat terraced roofs, form a tight and tangled ensemble that climbs the slope. The major monuments, many of which are decorated with sculpted woodwork and earthenwork and possess gardens and fountains, stand out in the landscape and contribute to its intensity; they include the Great Mosque (11th-14th centuries), the Sidi Abd-al-Rahman Mosque (18th century), the Ketchaoua Mosque (18th-19th centuries) and the Dar Aziz Bent El Rey Palace (16th century).
The Casbah of Algiers is an eminent example of a type of construction or architectural ensemble that illustrates a significant period in history. (IV) It is also an eminent example of a traditional human settlement that represents a culture that has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change. (V)
- The site of present-day Algiers was occupied by Ikosim, a Phoenician trading post, and then Icosium, which was integrated into Caesarian Mauritania (in the 1st century A.D.).
- Following the conquest of the Vandals in the 5th century, Mauritania went under the rule of the Byzantines in the 6th century. Then the Arabs took over and in 944 they founded a new city on the ruins of the ancient Roman city. Until the 15th century, the urban history of Algiers was linked to the battles between the dynasties of the Maghreb.
- In 1529 the Barberousse brothers put an end to the Spanish occupation of the small islands of Algiers, since then linked to the coast, by seizing the Penon fortress. Algiers was named the capital city by the Ottoman sultan. A citadel and a defensive wall were erected.
- As the Ottoman bridgehead of the western Mediterranean, the fortified city also served as a hideout for Barbarian pirates in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was within this context of military and trade activities that Algiers enjoyed great economic prosperity.
- In 1716 a major earthquake devastated a large part of the medina, which was subsequently reconstructed.
- After it was taken by the French in 1830, the old city of Algiers underwent considerable transformation. This altered its urban fabric, most of which dated to the Turkish era of its history.
|M. Abdelhakim Bettache|
|Assemblée Populaire Communale d’Alger Centre|
Place Émir Abdelkader
|Mme Houria Bouhired|
|Association «Sauvons la Casbah»|
Casbah Alger, Algérie
+213.21 37.19.58, 37.17.05