Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Virtually unknown in the English-speaking world

Less than three hours from London, yet virtually unknown in the English-speaking world, Algiers is one of the Mediterranean's most mesmerising cities, a captivating mélange of faded French grandeur and neo-Moorish folly crowned by a legendary casbah. 
The esplanade, central Algiers
Were "Alger La Blanche" situated on the northern coast of the Mediterranean, this dazzling euphony of blue and white would be one of Europe's most sought after destinations.

A lived-in, weather-warmed city, the Algerian capital is home to some of the most exuberant, playful art deco architecture anywhere in the world. Yet the boulevards of this Mediterranean Paris are also lined with mosques and minarets, notably the 17th century Fishermen's Mosque, as well as neo-Moorish delights such as the Grande Poste.

Central Algiers: imagine a lick of paint!
The casbah - "a masterpiece of architecture and town planning" according to Le Corbusier - remains one of the world's most mythical labyrinths, its huddled houses tumbling down the hill-side before seemingly spilling over into the sea.
The interior of one of Algiers' palaces

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