Take a Walking Tour in Algiers
Algiers has a number of fascinating landmarks and attractions within walking distance of one another, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy parts of the city at a leisurely pace. One of the suggested routes to walk starts at the historic Palais des Rais Bastion with its view of the inner port of Algiers and the lighthouse built by the infamous Barbarossa. From there visitors can walk a route that includes Dar el-Hamra, the covered marketplace, the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, the 16th century Hammam Sidna and a number of classic Algerian houses, some of which once housed the French Governor of Algeria and other officials prior to Algerian independence.
Considered to be one of the most important historical monuments of the city of Algiers, Palais des Rais is an extension of the city’s Casbah and was a commercial hub in the past. The initial buildings which later developed into the palace were constructed in 1576 by the Dey of Algiers as a defensive structure between the growing Casbah and the port. The palace as it is seen today was reportedly constructed between 1750 and 1798 by the Dey of the time and became home to a number of different groups over the subsequent years, including the Consulate of the United States, a school, and the Duke of Aumale, before being turned into a library. Homeless families claimed the building in 1962, remaining there until in 1980 the Ministry of Culture set about restoring the historic building. It was opened to the public as a monument and museum, as well as the Center for Arts and Culture, in 1994 and is used as the venue for a wide range of cultural events.
The Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions is a treasure trove of local arts and crafts, from generations ago to more recent times. On display are a wide range of artworks, wall hangings, carpets, jewelry, ceramics and furniture, all bearing testimony to the skill of the artists and artisans. The building itself is architecturally and historically significant, having been built in 1570 as an Ottoman palace. The spacious entrance hall leads into an inner hall, overlooked by the balconies of the floor above. Graceful arches and intricately carved woodwork are characteristics of the building. Certainly, it is worth stopping of at this interesting museum when on a walking tour through this historic part of the city of Algiers.