Monday, 10 October 2011

The Alphabetical Tourist: Algeria

In spite of the Algerian's government's efforts to promote tourism in this troubled North African country, current advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is likely to deter all but the most intrepid travellers as it is deemed  that  the risk of terrorist attacks and kidnap of foreign nationals is high.  This seems a shame because there appears to be a lot to discover in the tenth largest country by land area in the world.  Lets hope the situation changes in the near future.

So, what's Algeria got?  Well, there's sand, sand and more sand both on its Mediterranean coast where beaches rival those of neighbouring holiday hotspots of Tunisia and Morocco and a bit in its share of the Saharan desert that covers an amazing 80% of this country.  Although a bit of dune hopping wouldn't go amiss I'm not the type of girl who's after a trip that's exclusively devoted to sun worship so what's there to attract me?  A bit of art maybe?

Well,  the caves of the Tassili n'Ajjer' mountain range are home to the largest collection of prehistoric painting in the world. The works include some incredibly vibrant Neolithic works and this 'Martian'.  Who knows - Spock may have been a visitor to our dim distant ancestors.  Alas the nearby towns of Djanet and Tamanrasset feature in that cautious FCO advice so a trip here is out of bounds for a  cowardly Lovelygrey.  I'm not Kate Adie you know.  Being a bit of a scaredy cat I'll stick to areas of the world that are a little more peaceful for the time-being but hope a visit might be feasible if the country's future is more stable.

Now it won't come as a surprise to find out that Tassili n'Ajjer is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of  seven in the country.  Here's another of an entirely different nature that's taken my fancy, the exotic sounding Kasbah of Algiers, an entire city dating from the 6th century BC  cascading down hillside to the Meditteranean sea which is made up of souks, mosques, living quarters   It is described as a fine example of a settlement in which Mediterranean Muslim culture and lifestyle still flourish today yet is under threat from dilapidation because of age, neglect and overpopulation. Maybe not a tourist hotspot but fascinating nonetheless.  And listen to Rachid Taha singing the Clash's 'Rock the Casbah' in Arabic.  Although the origin version was realised as a response to rock music being banned in Iran, this Algerian born singer must have been inspired by his own country's famous monument when he decided to record his own cover version!


1 comment:

  1. The cave drawing looks very muchly like Arnold what do you call him Predator character (I watch far to many movies) VERY INTERESTING THOUGH XX manda XX

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