View of the Casbah, seen from Hotel Safir

Getty Images/Axiom RM


Top choice in Algiers

The heart of the city is its ancient Casbah, a steep and narrow maze of streets just west of the Pl des Martyrs. There are several magnificent Ottoman palaces to explore here, most concentrated around the Djemaa Ketchoua at the end of Rue Ahmed Bouzrina; the finest is the Dar Hassan Pacha.

This fiercely traditional neighborhood saw some of the most bitter fighting during the Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo's extraordinary film of the same name was shot in situ shortly after the war's end). Today the Casbah is fine to walk around, but exercise extreme caution with personal belongings and avoid going there at night. Hiring a guide (ask at your hotel) is not a bad idea.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Algiers attractions

1. Djemaa Ketchoua

0.12 MILES

Of all the mosques in central Algiers, the Djemaa Ketchoua has had the most turbulent history. Its date of construction is estimated as being around the…

2. Dar Hassan Pacha

0.13 MILES

Carrying the name of its original owner, Dar Hassan Pacha, this is one of the city's grandest mansions. The building now houses a collection of…

3. Dar Aziza Bent el-Bey

0.15 MILES

Aziza may have been a bent (daughter) of the bey of Constantine, who built the sumptuous Dar Aziza for her. Its whitewashed facade hides one of the most…

4. Museum of Popular Arts & Traditions

0.17 MILES

This museum is the most accessible of the buildings one can visit in the Casbah. It is housed in a fine example of an Ottoman-period town house, the Dar…

5. Djemma Ali Bitchine

0.21 MILES

The Djemma Ali Bitchine, which dates to 1622, is a mosque with an unusual domed design clearly influenced by Italian or Byzantine churches. That it should…

6. Djemaa el-Djedid

0.25 MILES

Colonial French town planners cleared many Ottoman buildings when they redesigned the Algiers waterfront and laid out what is now the place des Martyrs,…

7. Djemaa el-Kebir

0.31 MILES

The city's Grand Mosque has ancient heritage. It's built on a rise above the inner port where early Berber and Phoenician inhabitants built a place of…

8. Palais des Raïs

0.37 MILES

This palace is in fact a row of several large waterfront houses, joined to form a single compound. It is now home to the Centre des Arts et de la Culture,…