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The casbah and the two quays form a triangle.) from the Arabic name الجزائر al-Jazā’ir, which translates as "The Islands", referring to the four islands which used to lie off the city's coast until becoming part of the mainland in 1525.Al-Jazā’ir is itself a truncated form of the city's older name جزائر بني مزغانة Jaza'ir Bani Mazghana, "The Islands of the Sons of Mazghana", used by early medieval geographers such as al-Idrisi and Yaqut al-Hamawi.The Peñón of Algiers, an islet in front of Algiers harbour had been occupied by the Spaniards as early as 1302.Thereafter, a considerable amount of trade began to flow between Algiers and Spain.Roman cemeteries existed near Bab-el-Oued and Bab Azoun.The city was given Latin rights by Emperor Vespasian.An estimate puts the population of the larger metropolitan city to be around 5,000,000.
The modern part of the city is built on the level ground by the seashore; the old part, the ancient city of the deys, climbs the steep hill behind the modern town and is crowned by the casbah or citadel, 122 metres (400 ft) above the sea.This work describes in detail the city, the behavior of its inhabitants, and its military defenses, with the unsuccessful hope of facilitating an attack by Spain so as to end the piracy.A significant number of renegades lived in Algiers at the time, Christians converted voluntarily to Islam, many fleeing the law or other problems at home.Seized by France during the invasion of Algiers in 1830. Formally part of the Ottoman Empire but essentially free from Ottoman control, starting in the 16th century Algiers turned to piracy and ransoming.Due to its location on the periphery of both the Ottoman and European economic spheres, and depending for its existence on a Mediterranean that was increasingly controlled by European shipping, backed by European navies, piracy became the primary economic activity.