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The white city, Algiers is an historically significant city on the Mediterranean coast of Algeria. The Phoenicians were the first to take advantage of the harbour in 1200 BC; the Roman, Vandal and Byzantine empires successively passed through; but it wasn't until the Berbers came along in the 10th century that the Algiers we know today was first established.
Now, Algiers is Algeria's main commercial hub, as well as its capital and largest city. Its harbour is important both as a centre for trade and a refuelling station.
Algiers can be divided into two main sections: the old and the new. The latter is situated by the shore and is characterised by French architecture and urban layout.
The kasbah is the old part of the city, constructed while the city was under the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. At its centre is the Kasbah, a citadel built for the local ruler, or dey. The kasbah is sprawled along the steep hill behind the modern town.
The Kasbah was built by the Ottomans during the 17th century and now stands as the most prominent building in the kasbah, or old town. It was built on the site of Icosium, the original Phoenician settlement in the area.
The kasbah as a whole has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
There are a number of historic mosques and churches in Algiers:
Algiers is located along the northern coastline of Algeria and therefore has a Mediterranean climate wit warm, sunny and dry summers (May-September) and relatively mild winters when most of the rain falls (November-March). Temperatures in summer usually are around 30 °C, sometimes more. Winters are around 15 °C to 20 °C but can drop to just a few degrees above zero at night sometimes. Absolute maximum and minimum temperatures are 42 °C (August) and 0 °C (December).
Houari Boumediene Airport (ALG) is located near Algiers. Air Algerie is the national airline, flying to destinations in Algeria like Oran, Constantine, Annaba, Adrar, Ghardaia, Hassi Messaoud, Tamanrasset, Tébessa, Tlemcen and Zarzaitine. International airlines that fly to Algiers include Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa, Iberia, Alitalia and Royal Air Maroc.
The distance to the centre of Algiers is 20 kilometres and you can use the route N5 following directions of Bab Ezzouar. Taxis are available, but regular buses connect the airport to downtown Algiers as well. The Algiers Metro Line 1 will connect the airport with the centre of Algiers. This connection is planned to be completed by 2010.
There are daily services in the north between Algiers and Oran, Béjaia, Skikda, Annaba and Constantineoperated by the Société Nationale des Transports Ferroviaires (SNTF (French), Algerian Railways).
SNTF is the national bus company with bus connections from Algeriers to dozens of cities in the country.
Algerie Ferries is one of the major operators, with scheduled services between Marseille and Algiers. SNCM travels between Marseille and Algiers as well. Finally, Cnan Maghreb Lines has boats between both Barcelona and Marseille, and Algiers.
There are ferry services between several port towns, like Algiers, Annaba, Oran and Ghazaouet.
There are Internet cafés in all larger towns and cities.
See also International Telephone Calls
Algeria Post offers fairly reliable though relatively slow services. Mail posted in any of the main cities along the coast takes three to four days to reach Europe; posted elsewhere, it could take much longer. Parcels sent by surface mail may take up to two months to reach Algeria. You might get better and faster deals with international couriers like DHL, TNT or UPS. Post officies are generally open from Saturday to Wednesday from 8:00am to 5:00pm and Thursday from 8:00am to 12:00pm, but the main post office in Algiers (5 boulevard Mohamed Khémisti) is open 24 hours.
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