Algeria - download topographic map set
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Algeria is a country in North Africa, in the western Mediterranean basin. Algeria borders on Morocco in the west, Mauritania and Mali in the south-west, Niger in the south-east and Libya and Tunisia in the east. Algeria is the second largest African country, and most of its area lies in the Sahara desert. The city of Algiers is the capital of the country. The total area of the country is 2381.7 sq km.
Relief. The mountain ranges of Algeria include the biggest mountain ranges of the Atlas Mountains, the Tel-Atlas and the Saharan Atlas, such ranges as the Varsenis Range (Sidi Amar, 1,985 m), the Big Kabila Range and the Small Kabila Range (up to 1,200 m high), the Hodna Range and the Ores Range (Shelia, 2,328 m). The Sahara Desert covers 80% of the country and consists of a number of sand deserts (the Great Western Erg Desert, the Great Eastern Erg Desert, the Erg-Igidi Desert and the Erg-Shesh Desert) and stony deserts (such plateaux as the Tanezruft, the Tingert, the Tademait and the El Eglab). The highest point of Algeria is Mount Tahat in the Ahaggar Highlands (3,003 m), while the lowest point is Lake Melgir (-40 m).
Mountains. In the south-east of the Algerian Sahara lie the Ahaggar Highlands (2,906 m), where the highest point of Algeria, Mount Tahat, is situated. From all sides, this plateau is surrounded by the step plateaux Tassilin-Addzher and Tassilin-Ahaggar and the Muydir Mountains.
In northern Algeria the Atlas ranges, the Tell-Atlas and the Saharan Atlas, extend parallel to each other, separated by high plateaux and massifs, cut by deep gorges. The alpine age of the Atlas Mountains is the reason for high seismic activity.
Rivers. All the Algerian rivers are temporary watercourses (ueds), which are filled during the rain season. The Sheliff River is the largest river of Algeria (700 km). Other rivers of Algeria include the Isser, the Summan and the Ryumel.
Lakes. Lake basins (sebhs) are also filled during the rainy period, while in the summer they dry up and are covered with a salt crust 60 cm thick. The lakes of Algeria include Lakes Schott-Gharbi (500 sq km), Shott al-Shergi (2 sq km) and Schott al Hodna (1 sq km).
Reserves. The Taza Biosphere Reserve has unique kinds of rocks, beaches, mountains and valleys. The area is very interesting for tourism. The Guraya Biosphere Reserve has unique landscapes of coastal and inland areas as well as a wide variety of ecosystems. One could say that this is an ideal route for ecotourism.
- Places of particular interest in the capital of Algeria include the Museum of Ethnography and Ancient History, the National Museum of Antiquities and the National Museum of Fine Arts;
- The sights of Oran include the Santa Cruz Citadel and the Great Mosque (17th century);
- Blida has a mosque built by the pirate Barbarossa;
- The sights of Annaba are the ruins of Aphrodisium, an ancient city (early first millennium AD; the city was a center of early Christianity, and St. Augustine died there in 430);
- The places of interest in Constantine include the walls of the old city built by Arabs out of sculptural images of the Roman period, the Roman citadel, the Sidiel Kattani mosque (18th century) and a 19th century palace;
- The sights of Biskra include the tomb of Okba, the conqueror of North Africa (the earliest known inscription in Arab ligature found in Africa).
Tourism. The Algerian Sahara makes up 90% of the total area of Algeria and is a major tourist site. Tourists have already made hundreds of walking routes there. Hotels have been built in oases for a comfortable holiday.
You can also be part of such guided country tours as “The Oasis and the Dune”, “The Ksur Road and the Gardens”, “Ancient Algeria and the Mediterranean” and “Kasby and Traditions”.
Climate. The country’s climate is Mediterranean subtropical in the north and tropical in the Sahara Desert. Winters along the coastline are warm and rainy with an average temperature of 12°C and cool in the mountains (snow for 2-3 weeks). Summers in Algeria are hot and dry. The annual rainfall is 0-50 mm in the Sahara Desert and up to 400-1200 mm in the Atlas Mountains.