Wonderful land at the crossroads of three worlds--Mediterranean, Arab and African--, where the most prestigious civilizations flourished and prospered, Algeria has always enjoyed its privileged geographical position and considerable space. Mediterranean landscapes, vast semi-arid highlands and moon-like desert expanses make of Algeria a beautiful mosaic of contrasts in perfect harmony.
Beyond the exceptional beauty of the landscapes; the blue sea spread out on its lavish shores; the exquisite Roman ruins: the green fertile plains of the Tell; the picturesque villages of Kabylie: the wide spaces of the Sahara clad in the blueprint of the dunes as well as the starry skies and warm comfort of the oases; Algeria boasts the richest of all resources: its people, brave, humble and generous with an unwavering and intimate attachment to the land.
The arrival of the Phoenicians and the founding of the merchant ports of Hippo and Utica in the twelfth century BC. J.-C, the Moslem conquest in 647 AD, the succession of empires that had occupied the land --Carthaginian, Numidian and Roman-- shaped Algeria’s fabulous archeological sites. No less than seven Algerian monuments and sites are classified as UNESCO World Heritage.
Algeria gains its freedom and Independence on the 5th of July 1962 and spreads over an area of 2,381,741 km2 with 1,300 km of coastline and borders all the Maghreb countries Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauritania and two African Sahel countries, Mali and Niger. Algeria is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Arab League, and OPEC. The country is also a founding member of the Arab Maghreb Union.
Algeria is a republic, one and indivisible, as stated in Article 1 of its Constitution. The Constitution of 1989 instituted a pluralistic regime which guarantees the full exercise of individual and collective freedoms in all forms and in all areas. Powers are based on the principle of separation. To ensure compliance with constitutional provisions, a Constitutional Council was established in February 1989. A pluralistic regime was also instituted and a bicameral parliament was established in 1996.
While the Algerian population, numbering about 35.4 million, is predominantly Sunni Muslim, freedom of religion is recognized and there is genuine religious tolerance in society. Arabic is the official language and Tamazight is a national one.
Education and training have always been a major concern of the Algerian state. Since independence, Algeria has opted for a tuition-free compulsory schooling until the age of 16. Thanks to sustained budgetary efforts and substantial investments, Algeria now guarantees access to education to approximately 98% of school-age children and enjoys an 85% retention for children aged 6 to 14 years.
Moreover, a network of 58 universities and institutes, including 17 multidisciplinary universities and 18 specialized high schools have turned the largest cities into places of learning. In 2011 more than 1.5 million students, 54% of whom are female, were enrolled
Algeria is also characterized by diverse and important natural resources: gas reserves in Algeria are among the largest in the world, while its underground houses huge deposits of oil and other resources (phosphate, zinc, iron, gold, uranium, tungsten, kaolin…).