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Mercure Hotel
Algiers Algeria

First class/upscale hotel
mobil stars,michelin ,stars 5
luxury hotel offering 307 rooms including 50 non smoking rooms
. the only international hotel located near the airport. 3
restaurants, 2 bars,

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Mercure Hotel Algiers Algeria

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Sofitel Alger 
172 Rue Hassiba Benbouali
Algiers Algeria

Luxury hotel
Close to the Hamma business centre and the Belcourt quarter, the hotel adjoins the jardin d Essai, created in 1832 and one of the 6 most beautiful botanical gardens in the world. 303 rooms, 26 suites with 1 presidential suite. Non-smoking floor

Sofitel Alger  Sofitel Alger   
Main article: History of Algeria
Roman arch of Trajan at Thamugad
Roman arch of Trajan at Thamugadi (Timgad), Algeria

Algeria has been inhabited by Berbers (or Amazigh) since at least 10,000 BC. From 1000 BC on, the Carthaginians became an influence on them, establishing settlements along the coast. Berber kingdoms began to emerge, most notably Numidia, and seized the opportunity offered by the Punic Wars to become independent of Carthage, only to be taken over soon after by the Roman Republic in 200 BC. As the western Roman Empire collapsed, the Berbers became independent again in much of the area, while the Vandals took over parts until later expelled by the generals of the Byzantine Emperor, Justinian I. The Byzantine Empire then retained a precarious grip on the east of the country until the coming of the Arabs in the 8th century.

Roman arch of Trajan at Thamugadi (Timgad), AlgeriaAfter some decades of fierce resistance under leaders such as Kusayla and Kahina, the Berbers adopted Islam en masse, but almost immediately expelled the Caliphate from Algeria, establishing an Ibadi state under the Rustamids. Having converted the Kutama of Kabylie to its cause, the Shia Fatimids overthrew the Rustamids, and conquered Egypt. They left Algeria and Tunisia to their Zirid vassals; when the latter rebelled and adopted Sunnism, they sent in a populous Arab tribe, the Banu Hilal, to weaken them, thus incidentally initiating the Arabization of the countryside. The Almoravids and Almohads, Berber dynasties from the west founded by religious reformers, brought a period of relative peace and development; however, with the Almohads' collapse, Algeria became a battleground for their three successor states, the Algerian Zayyanids, Tunisian Hafsids, and Moroccan Merinids. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Spain started attacking and taking over many coastal cities, prompting some to seek help from the Ottoman Empire.

Algeria was brought into the Ottoman Empire by Khair ad-Din and his brother Aruj, who established Algeria's modern boundaries in the north and made its coast a base for the corsairs; their privateering peaked in Algiers in the 1600s. Piracy on American vessels in the Mediterranean resulted in the First and Second Barbary War with the United States. On the pretext of a slight to their consul, the French invaded Algiers in 1830; however, intense resistance from such personalities as Emir Abdelkader, Ahmed Bey and Fatma N'Soumer made for a slow conquest of Algeria, not technically completed until the early 1900s when the last Tuareg were conquered.

Constantine, Algeria 1840Meanwhile, however, the French had made Algeria an integral part of France, a status that would end only with the collapse of the Fourth Republic. Tens of thousands of settlers from France, Italy, Spain, and Malta moved in to farm the Algerian coastal plain and occupy the most prized parts of Algeria's cities, benefiting from the French government's confiscation of communally held land. People of European descent in Algeria (the so-called pieds-noirs), as well as the native Algerian Jews, were full French citizens starting from the end of the 19th century; by contrast, the vast majority of Muslim Algerians remained outside of French law. Even the main part of those who had fought for France during the World Wars and in Indochina, possessed neither French citizenship nor the right to vote. Algeria's social fabric was stretched to breaking point during this period: literacy dropped massively, while land confiscation uprooted much of the population.

In 1954, the National Liberation Front (FLN) launched the guerrilla Algerian War of Independence; after nearly a decade of urban and rural warfare, and with the help of Frenchmen sustaining Algerian independance like Henri Alleg, or Hervé Bourges and French organisations like Témoignage Chrétien, inside the French army itself, they succeeded in pushing France out in 1962. Most of the 1,025,000 pieds-noirs, as well as 91,000 harkis (pro-French Muslim Algerians serving in the French Army), together forming about 10% of the population of Algeria in 1962, fled Algeria for France in just a few months in the middle of that year.

Algeria's first president, the FLN leader Ahmed Ben Bella, was overthrown by his former ally and defense minister, Houari Boumédiènne in 1965. Boumédienne soon set about converting the FLN's Marxism into a Stalinist military dictatorship. Agriculture was collectivised, and a massive industrialization drive launched. Oil extraction facilities were nationalized and this increased the state's wealth, especially after the 1973 oil crisis, but the Algerian economy became increasingly dependent on oil and this brought hardship when the price collapsed in the 1980s. In foreign policy Algeria was a member and leader of the 'non-aligned' nations. A dispute with Morocco over the Western Sahara nearly led to war.

Dissent was rarely tolerated, and the state's control over the media and the outlawing of political parties other than the FLN was cemented in the repressive constitution of 1976. Boumédienne died in 1978, but the rule of his successor, Chadli Bendjedid, was not much more open. The state took on a strongly bureaucratic character and corruption was widespread.

The modernization drive brought considerable demographic changes to Algeria. The ancient tribal routines of the villages were broken, and education, a rarity in colonial times, was extended nationwide. Improvements in healthcare led to a dramatic increase in the birthrate (7-8 children per mother) which had two consequences: a very youthful population, and a housing crisis. The new generation struggled to relate to the cultural obsession with the war years and two conflicting protest movements developed: progressives and Islamic 'intégristes'. Both protested against one-party rule but also clashed with each other in universities and on the streets during the 1980s.

Mass protests from both camps in autumn 1988 forced Benjedid to concede the end of one-party rule, and elections were announced for 1991.

In December 1991, the Islamic Salvation Front won the first round of the country's first multiparty elections. The military then canceled the second round, forced then-president Bendjedid to resign, and banned the Islamic Salvation Front. The ensuing conflict engulfed Algeria in the violent Algerian Civil War. More than 100,000 people were killed, often by unprovoked massacres and bombings of civilians by muslim guerrilla groups such as the Armed Islamic Group.

After a century of rule by France, Algeria became independent in 1962. The surprising first round success of the fundamentalist FIS (Islamic Salvation Front) party in the December 1991 balloting caused the army to intervene, crack down on the FIS, and postpone the subsequent elections. The FIS response has resulted in a continuous low-grade civil conflict with the secular state apparatus, which nonetheless has allowed elections featuring pro-government and moderate religious-based parties. FIS's armed wing, the Islamic Salvation Army, disbanded itself in January 2000 and many armed militants surrendered under an amnesty program designed to promote national reconciliation. Nevertheless, residual fighting continues. Other concerns include Berber unrest, large-scale unemployment, a shortage of housing, and the need to diversify the petroleum-based economy.
Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Morocco and Tunisia
Ethnic groups:
Arab-Berber 99%, European less than 1%
Sunni Muslim (state religion) 99%, Christian and Jewish 1%
Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects
Algerian dinar (DZD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Algerian dinars per US dollar - 77.889 (January 2002), 77.215 (2001), 75.260 (2000), 66.574 (1999), 58.739 (1998), 57.707 (1997)

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