Algeria is a fascinating North African country with an intriguing and ancient history besides plethora of adventure destinations. The ocean like calmness of the Sahara Desert is as alluring as the mystic ruins of the Roman Empire in this country. With breathtaking oases and lovely coastlines suddenly breaking into dormant or extinct volcanoes, Algeria has immense natural potential to be a hot spot of tourism. Years of civil wars and political turmoil have failed to dominate the spirit and enthusiasm of the Algerians and jeopardise the enthralling customs and traditions of the land. Algeria also shelters some interesting mix of nomadic and partly nomadic tribe, who are generally seen around the Sahara. However, most of the populace are settled by the fertile coastal area in the northern part of the nation. Though Arabic is the official language of Algeria, about 15% of the population still speaks a Berber language, Tamazight. And courtesy the colonial past, French is also widely spoken here with little bit of English. Almost all Algerians adhere to the Sunni Muslim faith. Algiers is the capital city of Algeria and other important cities are Annaba, Blida, Constantine, Mostaganem, Oran, Sétif, Sidi-bel-Abbès, Skikda, and Tlemcen.
Situated on the north-west point of Africa, it is the longest and second largest country in the continent on the basis of land area. The Mediterranean Sea forms the northern border of the country. The land boundaries of Algeria are shared with Tunisia in the northeast, Libya in the east, Niger in the southeast and Mali and Mauritania in the southwest and Morocco and its annexed territory of Western Sahara, in the west. Spread over an area of 2,381,741 sq km, more than half of the country terrain is eaten by the sandy extension of the Sahara down south. The northern half of the country is only inhabited and follows a disciplined pattern of geographical features from east to west. It starts with a narrow lowland strip along the country's Mediterranean coastline followed by the fertile Tell valley in the heart of the country and the Tell Atlas Mountains. The Soummam River and the Chelif River form a basin here. Then the sparsely populated, semiarid High Plateaus containing a number of ridges comes. The Saharan Atlas Mountains, a series of mountain ranges and massifs, rise next to the plateaus and stand in contrast to the Sahara Desert with its green pastures. Al Jazair or the islands, is the Arabic name for Algeria and indicates the existence of rocky islands along the Mediterranean coastline. The weather pattern of Algeria is marked with sharp regional contrasts. While the Tell basin has a Mediterranean climate and abundant fertile soil, down south, the climate gets drier with less rainfall and semi-arid regions.
The Berbers were the first inhabitants of Algeria with Numidia being the most prominent dynasty. The Carthaginians and the Romans conquered it subsequently. The following barbaric reign of the Vandals ended with the invasion by Arabs and Islam followed soon. Algeria remained under Ottoman Turkish rule for three centuries, starting from 1536, before the French occupied it in 1830. The Algerian independence movements led to the uprisings of 1954–1955 and on July 5, 1962, Algeria was proclaimed independent from French clutches. The following years saw a brutal spate of civil war, overthrowing of the government and general elections resumed only 1995 onwards. Today Algeria is governed under a constitution and an executive led by the president who is popularly elected for five years. The prime minister and cabinet are appointed by the president. The bicameral parliament consists of the 380-seat National People's Assembly and the 144-seat Council of Nations. The economy of Algeria is dependent on its reserves of Petroleum, natural gas and hydrocarbons. Though the financial sector is severely plagued with civil disturbances, unemployment and poverty, Algeria is improving with policy reforms supported by the IMF and debt rescheduling from the Paris Club.