Algiers, Algeria—البهجة “The White City”

by Teri E. Popp, Tastemaker in Residence - Photos by Teri E. Popp and Mike Niemeyer

For the sturdy, adventurous traveler, a trip to the white walled city of Algiers may appeal. This city, located on the Mediterranean in Algeria, sits between Morocco and Tunisia. Further inland, the country of Algeria shares borders with Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Libya.

The newer areas of the city, found on the flatter land near the seaside, eventually give way as one climbs the hill up to the ancient city of the “deys (داي)”, also known as the area where the wealthier, ruling class lived in the past. At the top of this steep hill sits the casbah (قَـصْـبَـة) at 400 feet above sea level.

Upon entering the casbah, we first visited the Bahia House, a private home where we enjoyed mint tea with the home owner and her lovely daughters. Beautiful tiles adorned every wall, and we were privileged as Mrs. Bahia shared her mother’s traditional dress, as well as Algerian hospitality.

We traversed through the narrow brick streets of the casbah as we peeked in various store windows. A nice assortment of interesting doors adorned the various homes and businesses found in the citadel area.

Near the bottom of the casbah, we toured the Mustapha Pacha, a Moorish palace built circa 1799. This facility now houses the National Museum of Miniatures, Illumination, and Calligraphy.

We finished our tour of the casbah with an exterior view of a magnificent Muslim Mosque, just before our final peek at a store featuring traditional Arab-Berber dress. As our ship sailed away from the harbor, we remembered our trip to “The White City” fondly. وداع!