40+ Facts About Algeria You Should Know

Discover 35+ facts about Algeria.

Straddling the Mediterranean Sea in the north and the vast Sahara Desert in the south, Algeria, officially the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Once home to many empires and dynasties in the past, Algeria has a rich and fascinating history. Here are some interesting facts about Algeria.

Facts about Algeria

1. Algeria is the largest country in Africa & the 10th largest country in the world.

Algeria has an area of 2,381,741 km² (919,595 sq mi), which makes it almost 3.5 times the size of the US state of Texas. Formerly the second-largest nation in Africa, Algeria has been the largest nation on the continent since 2011 after the secession of South Sudan from Sudan.

2. Algeria shares a land border with six countries. 

It is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia (1,034 km), to the east by Libya (989 km), to the southeast by Niger (951 km), to the southwest by Mali (1,359 km), Mauritania (460 km), and to the west by Morocco (1,559 km). Algeria is also bordered to the west by the disputed Western Saharan territory (41 km).

3. Algeria has a 998 km long coastline. 

All of Algeria’s coastline is along the Mediterranean Sea in the north of the country.

4. The capital of Algeria is Algiers. 

Located in northern Algeria on the slopes of the Sahel Hills, the city spreads for 10 miles along the west side of the Bay of Algiers on the Mediterranean Sea. 

A city of great beauty, Algiers is known for its broad French-style boulevards and elegant villas, whitewashed medina, and Socialist-era monuments. Besides being the capital, Algiers is also the political, economic, and cultural center of the country.

5. The name Algeria comes from its capital city of Algiers.

One of the fun facts about Algeria is that it gets its name from its capital city. Algiers itself gets its name Arabic name Al-Jazāʾir (The Islands) via the small islands formerly found in its harbor.

6. Algeria’s highest point is Mount Tahat. 

Located in the south of Algeria in the Hoggar mountains, Mount Tahat is the highest point in Algeria. Its elevation is a matter of debate, with some sources putting it at 2,908 m (9,541 ft) above sea level while other sources claim its height is 3,008 m (9,852 ft).

7. The lowest point in Algeria is -40 m (-131 ft) below sea level. 

It can be found at Chott Melrhir, an endorheic (closed basin) salt lake in northeastern Algeria whose size varies throughout the year. Chott Melrhir is the largest lake in Algeria with a maximum area of about 6,700 km².

8. More than four-fifths of Algeria is desert. 

The vast Sahara Desert covers more than 80% of Algeria.

9. Only 12% of the land in Algeria is inhabited. 

This is because a vast majority of Algeria’s population, some 90%, lives along the Mediterranean coast where the climate is more pleasant.

10. Islam is the predominant and state religion in Algeria. 

Islam first arrived in Algeria in the early 8th century when Muslim Arabs of the Umayyad Caliphate conquered the nation. However, it wasn’t until the 10th century that Islam became the majority religion in Algeria.

Approximately 99% of Algeria’s population is Muslim, out of which a majority are Sunnis of the Maliki branch. The remainder is small groups of Ahmadis, Shias, and Ibadis.

11. Algeria has two official languages. 

Standard Arabic and Tamazight (Berber) are the two official languages of Algeria. However, Algerian Arabic (Darja) is used by most Algerians.

Berber has been recognized as a national language by the constitution of Algeria since 2002. There are various Berber dialects spoken throughout Algeria, out of which Kabyle is the most common. Berber is written in the Tifinagh script.

12. Algeria is the second-largest Francophone nation in the world in terms of speakers.

This is one of the intriguing Algeria facts. Although French has no official status in Algeria, it can be considered as a lingua franca of Algeria. However, due to the colonization of Algeria by France, French is widely used in government, media (newspapers, radio, local television), and both the education system (from primary school onwards).

13. The currency used in Algeria is the Algerian dinar (DZD).

The Algerian dinar replaced the Algerian new franc as the country’s currency.

14. Algeria doesn’t observe daylight-saving time. 

Clocks do not change in Algeria and daylight-saving hasn’t been observed in the country since 1980.

15. Algeria is very homogenous. 

99% of Algeria’s population is of Arab-Berber ethnicity.  The remainder of the population is of European ethnicity and is predominantly of French, Spanish, and Italian descent.

16. The national flag of Algeria has three colors. 

It consists of two equal vertical bars of green and white with a red crescent and five-pointed star centered along the dividing line. The Algerian national flag was adopted in 1962.

The green was chosen because of its significance to Islam while the white is a symbol of peace. The star and crescent symbolize Islam as the nation’s prominent faith and are displayed in red in order to represent the blood shed by Algerians during the Algerian war of independence.

17. Algeria has the world’s 15th-largest proven oil reserves. 

Algeria has significant oil deposits and has been a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) since 1969. 

18. Algeria has the 10th-largest reserves of natural gas in the world. 

Algeria has bountiful amounts of natural gas and is also the sixth-largest gas exporter on the planet. 

19. Algeria operates the largest defense budget in Africa. 

This is one of the more random facts about Algeria. In addition to its large military budget, Algeria has the second-largest military in Africa, second only to Egypt.

20. The national animal of Algeria is the fennec fox. 

The crepuscular fennec is the world’s smallest fox. It is native to the Sahara Desert and the Sinai Peninsula, known for its disproportionately large ears.

21. Football is the most popular sport in Algeria. 

The Algerian men’s national football team is popularly known as “Les Fennecs” after the fennec fox.

22. Algeria is a huge fossil fuel exporter.

Petroleum, natural gas, and ammonia account for over 95% of Algeria’s total exports.

23. Women account for 70% of Algeria’s lawyers and 60% of its judges. 

Now, this is one of the best fun facts about Algeria. Algerian women are considerably more independent than in most Muslim-majority nations and have gained quite a prominent status in society.

24. Algeria has been ruled over by a slew of Arab-Berber dynasties.

The territory now comprising Algeria was ruled by various Arab-Amazigh dynasties from the 8th to the 16th centuries. These include the Umayyads, Abbasids, Almoravids, Almohads, Rustamids, Idrisids, Aghlabids, Fatimids, Zirids, Hammadids, and Zayyanids.

25. Algeria is home to the largest company in Africa. 

Founded in 1963, Sonatrach is the national state-owned oil company of Algeria with 154 subsidiaries.

26. The Djamaa El Djazair mosque in Algeria has the world’s tallest minaret. 

This is one of the coolest Algeria facts. The Djamaa El Djazair mosque was completed in 2019 and is known as the “Great Mosque of Algiers”. It is the third-largest mosque in the world after the Great Mosque of Mecca and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi of Medina in Saudi Arabia.

27. Algeria likes to take care of its citizens.

Algeria provides universal health care and free primary and secondary education to its citizens.

28. Algeria was under Ottoman rule for over three centuries. 

From 1516 to 1830, Algeria was a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire.

29. Algeria was a French colony for more than 130 years. 

The French colonization of Algeria began in 1830 with the invasion of Algiers and lasted until the Algerian War of Independence concluded in 1962.

30. Algeria gained full independence in 1962. 

Algeria finally gained full independence on 5 July 1962 after the brutal Algerian War of Independence, fought from 1954 to 1962. The number of casualties during the Algerian War of Independence varies significantly with French historians estimating that up to 400,000 Algerians were killed, while the Algerian government claims more than one million people died.

31. Algeria was home to a substantial minority European population until the mid-1960s. 

During the era of French colonial rule, many French poured into Algeria. Those who arrived encompassed a range of socio-economic strata, ranging from working-class citizens and peasants to large landowners.

Others from over the western Mediterranean, particularly Italians, Spaniards, and Maltese settled in Algeria. These settlers and the French collectively came to be known as the “Pieds-Noirs” and their population peaked around 1960. They numbered 1.2-1.4 million and constituted about 11-13% of Algeria’s population. Pieds-Noirs made up the majority of the population in Algeria’s two major cities, Algiers and Oran.

After Algeria attained independence in 1962, there was a mass exodus of Pieds-Noirs and by 1965 their numbers had dwindled to 100,000. Some notable Pieds-Noirs include the famous philosopher Albert Camus, the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, and the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Claude Cohen-Tannoudji.

32. The Algerian national anthem was first written in blood on a prison cell wall.

“Kassaman” (“The Pledge”), the national anthem of Algeria, was written during the Algerian War of Independence and officially adopted right after independence. Algerian nationalist poet and revolutionary Moufdi Zakaria penned the lyrics of “Kassaman” in the 1950s while incarcerated in Barberousse Prison during the war.

Not having access to paper or writing materials while incarcerated, he resorted to using his own blood as ink to jot down the lyrics.

33. Algeria has competed at every Summer Olympics since 1964.

Algeria has tasted some success at the Summer Olympics, winning five gold medals.

34. Algeria has been governed by many empires and dynasties.

Before the arrival of the Arabs, Algeria passed through many empires and dynasties. At some point in its history, it was being ruled by Numidians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, and the Vandals.

35. The national dish of Algeria is couscous. 

Couscous is hand-rolled semolina grain steamed until plump and fluffy. It is generally topped with a stew of lamb or chicken, chickpeas, courgettes, turnips, tomatoes, and carrots.

36. Algeria is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  

Given its rich history, it’s not surprising that Algeria is home to several magnificent tourist sites. These include the fortified palatine city of Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad; the Roman town of Djémila; the Kasbah of Algiers; the M’Zab Valley; the Roman city of Timgad; the Carthaginian trading center of Tipasa; and the national park of Tassili n’Ajjer.

37. Algeria is famous for its dates and produces some of the best dates in the world. 

Algeria is the 7th largest producer of dates in the world. Some Algerian dates such as the famous Deglet Nour, are considered by many as the best in the world.

38. Mint tea is the most popular beverage in Algeria. 

Algerians are crazy about tea and drinking tea throughout the day is a social norm. It is so entrenched in their culture that there are tea rooms and tea bars where people go to consume tea.

39. Capital punishment is legal in Algeria. 

Although capital punishment is legal in Algeria, the death penalty is currently under a moratorium and the last execution in Algeria was carried out in 1993.

40. Algeria drives on the right.