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 illuminated manuscripts and contemporary calligraphy by artists from across North Africa and the Middle East.
Hassan Pacha was the ruler of Algiers and a man with a sense of purpose – in 1795 he concluded a peace treaty with the fledgling USA guaranteeing their ships safe passage in Algiers' waters. Before that, around 1791, he began work building his palace on the edge of the Casbah, but away from the waterside, which was vulnerable and damp in winter. When Algiers fell to the French the house was turned into the governor's winter residence. Its facade was remodelled, and unlike most large houses here the Dar Hassan Pacha was given a European-style front, with rows of large windows and balconies and a grander entrance. During the occupation it played host to the great and good: the Emperor Napoleon and Empress Eugénie stayed during their 1860 tour.