The city of Algiers, capital and largest city of Algeria, with a population of over 3 million, extends for 16 km (10 miles) on the hilly slopes along the Bay of Algiers. The city forms a large amphitheater of dazzling white buildings that dominate the harbor and the bay. The city is divided into two. The lower part is the modern city, built by the French, with wide boulevards, theatres, cathedrals, museums and an opera house. The Muslim part is the old city, built on the upper slopes of the hills with narrow, twisting streets dominated by the Kasbah, a 16th-century fortress built by the Turks, which lends its name to the entire quarter.
The Bardo Ethnographic and Local Art Museum and the National Museum of Fine Arts is amongst the finest in North Africa. Despite these attractions, it is not likely that anyone but the business traveler will want to spend much time in the capital; it is an unavoidable stop en route to either the coast or the far south, the place to arrange itineraries and accommodation for onward internal travel.
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. Tipaza 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 water sports facilities. The Sidi Fredj peninsula has a marina, an open-air theatre and complete amenities including sporting facilities.
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