Algeria History and Culture

Algeria History and Culture

Independence and civil war

The FLN formed a unity party. In 1963, Ben Bella was elected President, but was overthrown in 1965 in a coup led by the Army Commander-in-Chief, H. Boumedienne. As head of state and chairman of the Revolutionary Council (1965–77), Ben Bella continued the policy of nationalization of industrial companies under the guiding principle of »Islamic socialism«. The socialist structure of society and the leading role of the FLN in the state were laid down in a “National Charter” (basis of the 1976 constitution). From 1977 Boumedienne was president of the republic.

After Boumediennes’ death (December 27, 1978), C. Bendjeddid became Secretary General of the FLN in January 1979 and President in February 1979. In the following years he was able to prevail against domestic rivals (including Abd al-Asis Bouteflika ) and expand his position within the party. The new state and party leadership took an economically pragmatic course. In 1980/81 the Arabization campaign led to unrest among the Berbers. a. demanded recognition of their cultural independence. Since the beginning of the 1980s, militant Muslim groups have been trying to enforce fundamentalist Islamic ideas with increasing violence.

After internal political disputes, a reform process got under way in 1988 (including the introduction of a multi-party system). In 1990 Ben Bella returned from his 10-year exile. The Front Islamique du Salut (FIS, German Fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front), legalized in September 1989 and striving for an Islamic state, grew increasingly stronger, won the first free regional and local elections in 1990 and won the first round of parliamentary elections on December 26, 1991 an election victory. C. Bendjeddid stepped in after internal political tensions set in back on January 11, 1992, one day later the election results were canceled, the second ballot was canceled. Power was taken over by a High Council of State consisting of the government and the army command, chaired by M. Boudiaf, who declared a state of emergency and in March 1992 banned the FIS. As a result, the Muslim fundamentalists called for armed struggle against the security forces, state institutions, intellectuals and foreigners. After Boudiaf’s murder (June 29, 1992), Ali Kafi (* 1928, † 2013) became Ali Kafi in 1992 and L. Zéroual in 1994 Chairman of the High Council of State (transformed into a Transitional National Council in May 1994), which replaced Parliament until the 1997 elections. Despite heightened security and repression measures on the part of the government, the acts of violence continued, escalated in particular through the terrorist attacks by the armed GIA (abbreviation for “Groupe Islamique Armé”, German Islamic armed group) and escalated into a civil war. Attempts by the state to strengthen its position by including non-Islamist opposition groups in the formation of political will (all-party conference excluding the FIS, 1994) failed, as did the efforts of numerous opposition forces to persuade the FIS to enter into a dialogue with the government (conference of Rome, January 1995). Instead, the irreconcilable attitude of the main conflict parties led to a further hardening of the fronts. Despite calls for boycotts and death threats from Islamic militants, the November 1995 presidential elections confirmed the president Zéroual in office.


In Algeria the Berber culture, the Arab-Islamic and the French culture meet. The old Berber culture has been preserved especially among the Tuareg in the south of the country and the Kabyle in the north. Characteristic features are the fortress-like settlements with their buildings made of rammed earth or adobe bricks, the ornate Kabyle pottery, the heavy silver jewelry and the indigo blue colored face veil (litham) of the Tuareg men.

After the Arab invasion in the 7th century, architecture and handicrafts underwent major changes. The Friday Mosque with its minaret, visible from afar, became the center of every settlement. Dome buildings, which are richly decorated with arabesques on the inside, characterize Islamic-Arabic architecture (Islamic art).

According to listofusnewspapers, Algerian literature is mainly written in French. The French Nobel Prize for Literature, A. Camus, was born and educated in Algeria. His novel ” The Plague ” is set in Oran. Many Algerian writers were subjected to severe reprisals and lived at least temporarily in exile, mostly in France. K. Yacine thematized the liberation struggle of the Berbers. A. Djebar wrote about the role of women in the Arab world and received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2000 (Maghrebian literature) for her work.

The music style Raï is the Algerian folk and pop music. It originally consisted of simple songs performed by women. From the 1960s onwards she took up elements of flamenco, jazz and rock and became much more rhythmic. Well-known representatives are Messaoud Bellemou (* 1950 ) and Cheb Khaled (* 1960). Raï music is considered un-Islamic by Islamists and was forbidden for a long time. However, the government was powerless against the growing popularity and lifted the ban in 1985.

The focus of the Algerian film is the reappraisal of the history of Algeria. Topics are the war of independence, women’s rights and terrorism. Some filmmakers mainly produce in France because of the better conditions. Mohamed Lakhdar-Hamina (* 1934) received the Golden Palm of Cannes in 1975 for the film “Chronique des années de braise” (German “Chronicle of the Years of Embers”).

Football is by far the most popular sport. The Algerian national soccer team has already qualified four times for the finals of the soccer world championship. At the Olympic Games, Algeria has won the gold medal four times in the 1,500 meter run and one gold medal in boxing.

Algeria Culture

World Heritage Sites in Algeria

World Heritage Sites (K) and World Natural Heritage (N)

  • Mountain fortress Beni Hammad (K; 1980)
  • Rock paintings by Tassili N’Ajjer (K / N; 1982)
  • Valley of M’zab (K; 1982)
  • Roman ruins of Djemila (K; 1982)
  • Ruined city of Tipasa (K; 1982)
  • Roman ruins of Timgad (K; 1982)
  • Old town of Algiers (K; 1992)
Comments are closed.