The capital Algiers (Al-Djazaïr in Arabic), founded in 960, is among the most beautiful towns in the Arab world, even though colonisation destroyed most of its ancient Moorish palaces that chimed out right to the coast, replacing them with a sea frontage which, jutting out over a magnificent bay, is also very imposing. Algiers is extremely charming since it sprouted on hills punctuated with small valleys, opening to magnificent and protected views you discover at hairpin bends and staircase backstreets. Its labyrinthine Kasbah, though very dilapidated preserved all its originality and hides superb Ottoman-inspired houses. The Grand Mosque of Algiers is a wonderful example of Almoravide-styled Islamic architecture, while the National Antic Museum and the Bardo ethnographic museum are equally interesting sights.
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