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Algiers, home of the famous El Djazair hotel

When Roman emperors ruled the world, loyal centurions of Roman legions who completed faithful service could expect as a retirement gift, if they were lucky, the equivalent of several hundred acres of farmland in the southern Mediterranean, primarily in territories that are now within the coast. Algeria, Tunisia or Morocco.

For the next two thousand years, these rich and fertile lands between the Atlas Mountains and the sea became wonderfully productive agricultural areas. Not too long ago, there was a time when Algerian vineyards produced more wine each year than the entire state of California. The protective shadow of the Atlas, like San Gabriels and other California coastal ranges, helped make the Algerian coastal belt a charming place to live and work.

The modern nation of Algeria is gigantic, almost four times the size of Texas. Today, since Sudan split into two nations in 2011, it is by far the largest country on the entire African continent. Algeria, the nation is named after its capital, Algiers, called “Alger la blanche” (the White City) because of its beautiful whitewashed buildings that gleam on the sunny slopes overlooking the sapphire blue bay of Algiers.

Visitors to Algeria often enter the country through Algiers, and it is surely worth extending your stay there for several days if you can. Among its many treasures, Algiers is home to the famous Hotel St. Georges, a magnificent Moorish palace built on a hill in 1889. It was here that Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery led much of his campaign in North Africa in World War II. , and it also hosted many important conferences between General Eisenhower and Prime Minister Churchill during the war.

After Algeria’s independence from France in 1962, the St. Georges was renamed Hotel El-Djazair, which has kept its name to this day. Many current guides list El-Djazair as one of the ten or twenty most famous hotels in the world. The French writer Henri de Montherlant is said to have said, after a long stay there: “Heaven still exists!” because he found it so nice and the food so delicious.

Overlooking the bay from atop a hill in the heart of a bustling city, it features fortress-like ramparts and a massive botanical garden, home to a number of rare Mediterranean trees. When visiting Algiers, this could be a good option for your first stay. You will be surprised how little it costs to stay in such a fabulous and luxurious hotel. In the last few months, you could stay at El-Djazair for $ 150 per night per person, double occupancy. A comparable luxury hotel would make you run many times longer than a jump and a jump across the Mediterranean Sea in Italy or France.

Modern Algiers is big, beautiful, and prosperous. It has great restaurants, great architecture, fabulous beaches, a historic Casbah, enviable museums. You especially want to savor the magnificent food of this coastal capital. I have too many happy memories of dining in Algeria to count, but if I had to pick a favorite restaurant, it would probably be El Cosaria, where my high expectations have always been met with fresh fish dishes prepared with that day’s catch brought in from beyond the breakwaters in the bay, and the many variations that are prepared there from lamb, a traditional Algerian staple. The cuisine is typically Algerian and very well done. Although considered one of the most expensive restaurants in town, dinner for two rarely costs more than $ 50 to $ 75. But you’ll want to do your own exploring!