Djemma Ali Bitchine

sights / Religious

Djemma Ali Bitchine information

Algiers , Algeria
rue Soualah
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In the rough days of Algerian piracy, when a man might be snatched off a ship in the high sea and given a choice of slavery or conversion, there were many so-called renegades, people around the Mediterranean who changed religion. Ali Bitchine was one. A sailor from Venice, his original name may have been Piccinino. Whoever he had been in Italy, in Algiers he was a sailor who rose to become a grand admiral of the fleet. In 1622 he built the Djemma Ali Bitchine . The plan is unusual, the domed design clearly influenced by Italian or Byzantine churches. Like several other mosques, this one was used as a church during the French occupation, when it was known as Notre Dame des Victoires. The minaret was destroyed towards the end of the 19th century. The building was reclaimed as a mosque in 1962 and at the time of writing was being restored.