Advertisement Close

12 Fun Facts About Algeria You Probably Didn't Know

posted on: Jan 26, 2022

12 Fun Facts About Algeria

By: Lindsey Penn/Arab America Contributing Writer

Although they may share a common language and religion, each country in the Arab world is unique. Between different histories, heritage, and even things that we think of as small, like weather, the Arab world and the countries in it are incredibly special. Algeria, known for having a large part of the country in the Sahara Desert, is no exception. Read below to find out just a few of many facts about Algeria that make it special.

1. Algeria is the largest country in Africa.

12 Fun Facts About Algeria

In terms of area, Algeria is the largest country in Africa. Encompassing 919,600 miles squared, the country is also tenth largest in the world. However, because most of the land is the Sahara Desert, the concentration of the population is closer to the Mediterranean coast-91% of the population occupies 12% of the total land.

2. It is the only country to mention two countries in its national anthem.

“Qassaman” is the name of Algeria’s national anthem. It was adopted in 1962 as the national anthem when Algeria won independence from France. The other country mentioned in the national anthem is France because the overall theme of the song was the Algerian fight for independence. At the time that it was adopted, the composers only intended for it to be a temporary national anthem, as it more closely resembles a battle song. However, it has remained to this day.

3. The national animal is the Fennec Fox.

12 Fun Facts About Algeria

You may have seen the Fennec Fox before, because it is the world’s smallest fox. They are typically 14 to 16 inches long (plus a 7 to 12-inch-long tail), and weigh between 2 and 3 pounds. Their most distinctive physical feature is their ears, which can be a whopping 4 to 6 inches long. Algeria’s national football (soccer) team is named Les Fennics, after the fox.

4. There are two Nobel Prize winners from Algeria.

12 Fun Facts About Algeria
Albert Camus

The first one to win was Albert Camus, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1957. He wrote in French, but was born and raised in Algeria. Camus won the prize because of how he wrote about the dilemmas of human conscience.

12 Fun Facts About Algeria
Claude Cohen Tannoudji

The second one to win was Claude Cohen Tannoudji, who won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1997 for his work laser cooling and trapping atoms.

5. The US Army used to import camels from Algeria.

12 Fun Facts About Algeria
US Army Camel Corps (Photo courtesy of gosanangelo.com)

Starting in the 1850s, the settlers would use camels to travel west and colonize those areas. They used camels because horses and mules couldn’t do the long trip, and camels don’t need to stop as often for water. For that reason, they started buying camels from Algeria. The US military then started to use camels as well up until the end of the US Civil War.

6. Two Algerian films were entered in the foreign language section for the Oscars.

12 Fun Facts About Algeria
Chronicle of the Years of Fire (1975)

Chronicle of the Years of Fire (1975) is about the Algerian Revolution, but starts ten years before it started to show the conditions leading up to the war. The film was entered in the 48th Academy Awards in 1976, but wasn’t nominated.

12 Fun Facts About Algeria
Outside the Law (2010)

Outside the Law (2010) is also about the Algerian fight for independence from the point of view of Algerians. It was nominated in the 83rd Academy Awards in 2011, but did not win.

7. Algeria’s Tassili National Park has a few pre-historic rock drawings and other archaeological sites from the Neolithic age.

12 Fun Facts About Algeria

Called Tassili N’Ajjer, it is located in southeast Algeria and is 44,738 miles squared. Since its discovery in 1933, 15,000 engravings on the rocks have been identified. The earliest trace of people in the area is in 10,000 BC, and people inhabited the area on and off since then. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

8. Algiers, Algeria has the tallest minaret in the world.

12 Fun Facts About Algeria

The tallest minaret in the world is Djamaa el Djazaïr (Great Mosque of Algiers). It is 870 feet tall and has observation decks in it.

9. Part of the original Tarzan movie (1932) was filmed in Algeria.

The famous scene where Tarzan screams before saving Jane was filmed in the Botanical Garden of Hamma in Algiers. It was filmed on a dragon tree.

10. The Clash’s hit “Rock the Casbah” was inspired by Algerian freedom fighters.

One version of this story is that The Clash based this song on the Algerian freedom fighters, who would use the kasbah in Algiers as a base during the Algerian Revolution. Another version is where Rachid Taha, an Algerian musician, gave them his own band’s recordings after running into them on the street. The songs that Taha handed them could have influenced “Rock the Casbah”.

11. Seventy percent of the lawyers in Algeria are women, while sixty percent of judges in Algeria are women.

12 Fun Facts About Algeria

Algerian women have increasingly enrolled in universities and employed in sectors like medicine and the judiciary sectors. As of 2007, women were only 20% of the labor force, but that was twice as much as the generation before them. Since then, the number of women in universities and the work force has increased.

12. In Algeria, petrol is cheaper than water.

12 Fun Facts About Algeria

Petrol is one of Algeria’s biggest sectors in the economy. The Algerian government has huge subsidies for petrol (which it tried to decrease, but the motion didn’t pass). For that reason, Algeria is the 5th cheapest country for petrol in the world, at $0.35/liter in 2019.

Check out Arab America’s blog here!