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Ancient Rock Art at the Bardo Museum

The Bardo Museum in Algiers reopened its doors to the public in 2013 after undergoing extensive restoration work, which took place in line with ancient building and craft techniques. Previously the residence of an 18th century Tunisian prince, the Bardo Museum consists of a series of whitewashed buildings on different levels, with simple yet bold architecture, interspersed with mosaic courtyards, gardens and trees. In the restoration of the museum, great care was taken to preserve the original architecture and decorations, even down to the beautifully finished wooden doors and intricately designed door handles and other accessories. Visitors should be sure to take note of the great attention to detail in the mosaic and tile decorations on the walls and floors, as well as the colorful designs on the ceilings of the interior.

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Algeria's Wildlife: Barbary Sheep

Featuring thick spiraled horns and short bristly coats, Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia), known locally as Aoudad, are found in four of Algeria's protected areas – Tassili n'Ajjer, Belezma, Djebel Aissa State Forest and Ahaggar National Park. Although once found in abundance in North African countries, the IUCN conservation status of Barbary sheep is currently listed as 'vulnerable' in Algeria. Suggested measures to curb the drop in populations includes establishing larger reserve areas in the north of the country, and the reintroduction of Aoudad into the Djelfa and Tlemcen Hunting Reserves of Algeria, located between Oran and Oujda in northwest Algeria.

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Algeria's Liquid Gold

Supporting a variety of wildlife, Algeria's indigenous vegetation includes grasses, scrub, oaks, cedars, junipers, pine trees, a variety of conifers and olive trees. Olive trees have long been prized for their fruit, also called olives, which are prepared in a number of tasty ways and served on their own, or as an ingredient of Algerian cuisine. Olive trees are indigenous to the Mediterranean, as well as through Africa and Asia. With their oblong, silvery green leaves and gnarled and twisted trunks, olive trees rarely grow taller than 15 meters. Given the right conditions - full sun, well-drained sandy soil, some water and a long, hot growing season – olive trees need little attention and have an average lifespan of 500 years.

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Algeria's Wildlife: Dorcas Gazelles

Found throughout Algeria and its neighboring countries, the Dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas) is listed as 'vulnerable' by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). Its population is in decline primarily due to habitat loss and being hunted by humans – an activity which is illegal as the Dorcas gazelle is protected by law in Algeria. Visitors to Algeria's protected areas and national parks are likely to spot these attractive gazelles, with their fawn-colored coats, white undersides, large ears and beautifully curved horns.

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Quality Carpets: An Algerian Tradition

Carpet weaving remains a much-treasured tradition in Algeria, and visitors to the various local markets are sure to find a range of skillfully made carpets on sale at very reasonable prices. These carpets are generally woven from the sheep’s wool, sometimes mixed with goat hair or camel hair to give the carpet extra strength and durability. The array of colors is amazing, with the variety of geometric-style patterns seemingly endless. While each region in Algeria has its own style to some extent, they all use variations of geometric patterns. In March each year, the town of Ghardaïa hosts a large carpet festival, giving weavers from all over the country the opportunity to meet with each other, display their work, and take part in competitions. The town of Ain El Hammam in Upper Kabylia also hosts a carpet festival during the year.

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Algeria's Barbary Servals

The Barbary serval (Leptailurus serval constantina) is a species of serval endemic to Algeria, although there have reportedly been some sightings of these elegant felines in neighboring Morocco. While serval species south of the Sahara are plentiful, the Barbary serval was listed in June 1970 by the USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service) as endangered, and there are concerns that it is on the brink of extinction. Major threats to the continued existence of the Barbary serval are being hunted for its skin, and being killed by farmers who want to protect their domestic livestock from attack.

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Talented Algerian Artist Mohammed Racim

Visitors to Algeria's art museums, such as the magnificent National Gallery of Fine Arts in Algiers, are likely to come across the works of talented Algerian artist Mohammed Racim (1896-1975), the founder of the school of miniature painting that still exists in Algeria today. In addition to being an accomplished artist, Racim was known for using his art to promote pride in his fellow Algerians and to encourage them to pursue independence during the time when the country was a French territory.

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The Delicate Beauty of the Desert Rose

Referred to as rose rocks, sand roses and desert roses, the delicate formations created by minerals, sand and the elements in the arid regions of Algeria are nothing short of spectacular – and no two are alike. The color and the shape of the desert rose depends on the minerals and types of sand involved and they can range in size from as small as a pea to ten centimeters in diameter. They form either as individual roses or as large clusters of blooms.

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