Monday, December 24, 2007

Algeria Travel Guide

Lonely Planet just published its first guide to Algeria. And tour organizations like Row International ( are taking adventure seekers through the meandering alleyways of the Casbah and on camelback into the Sahara. The New York Times, Sunday, December 9, 2007.

Algeria Travel Guide

Algeria Travel Guide

1st Edition / August 2007
ISBN: 9781741790993
256 pp / 8 pp colour / 30 maps
Anthony Ham , Anthony Sattin , Nana Luckham

Algeria is the most fascinating country you never thought of visiting. This North African destination has two primary drawcards: outstanding Roman ruins and the exceptional landscapes of the Sahara. So tie your turban like a Tuareg and get ready to rock the Casbah.

  • Only English-language guidebook to Algiers
  • Guide to the best Roman ruins in Africa
  • Special chapter on travelling deep into the Sahara
  • The best of Algiers' accommodation options
Destination Algeria

Algeria is the most fascinating country you never thought of visiting.
Off limits for decades, Algeria is again struggling to its feet, resilient and ready to show you just why the country is becoming many travelers favourite North African destination. Like all countries along the southern Mediterranean rim, Algeria has two primary drawcards: outstanding Roman ruins and the exceptional landscapes of the Sahara. The difference is that Algeria has them in almost embarassing abundance.
Algeria's catalogue of ancient Roman cities is astonishingly varied. Tipaza, a favourite of Albert Camus, weaves among the palm trees and down to the shores of the Mediterranean. Djemila, nestled amid the hills, stunningly evokes northeastern Algeria's ancient past, while Hippo Regius is alive with the echoes of St Augustine. A further four Roman sites, all in the country's mountainous northeast, make Algeria a paradise for the amateur archaeologist in you.
Further from the coast, you don't have to travel too deep into the Sahara to be swept up in its magic. The oases of the west - Taghit, Beni Abbes and Timimoun - are surrounded by palm trees and the dunes of the Grand Erg Occidental (Great Western Erg) and are home to glorious
mud-brick architecture. Intriguing Ghardaia stands at the heart f the M'zab Valley, home to one of the world's few remnant Ibadi Muslim communities. Deep in the desert's heart in Algeria's far south, Assekrem (the End of the World), Atakor and the Tassili du Hoggar, where the otherworldly rock formations are the spiritual home of the Tuareg, are the stuff of legend for even the most experienced of Saharan travelers. Away to the remote southeast is the mythical terrain of the Tassili N'Ajjer where superbly rendered, millennia-old rock are tells the Sahara's story in shades of ochre and other earth tones.
It all comes together in Algiers, a city that's as alive any in the world. When deciding to include Algiers' Casbah on its World Heritage list, Unesco described it as 'one of the finest coastal sites on the Mediterranean' and we're inclined to agree. Also on the northern coast are Algeria's most beautiful cities. Constantine is stunning. Oran, the birthplace and home of rai, Algeria's world famous musical export, is an intriguing marriage of France and Spain. And Tlemcen could easily be one of Andalucia's most beautiful cities were it not in Algeria.
There's something about Algeria that has always given it the quality of an epic and perhaps that's why so many great travelers of the past have sought to know it, and from St Augustine in Hippo Regius to Isabelle Eberhardt in the oases of the Sahara, from Red Beard the pirate-king to Charles de Foucauld the desert hermit somewhere close to the End of the World.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Tebessa, Algeria - Byzantine basilica

Guelma, Algeria - Roman theatre

Roman Arch of Trajan at Thamugadi (Timgad)

Algeria celebrates the 5th anniversary of its first satellite

Guildford, UK, November 28, 2007: This week, Algeria celebrates the 5th anniversary of its first satellite, AlSAT-1 which marked the beginning of the country's national space programme. Five years on, the African nation not only benefits from improved cartography, pollution monitoring and petrology information, but also makes a significant contribution to international disaster response.

AlSAT-1 was launched on November 28, 2002 following the creation of the Algerian Space Agency (ASAL) by presidential decree on the January 16, 2002. British company SSTL built AlSAT-1 and provided training for engineers from the Centre National des Techniques Spatiales (CNTS) as part of a development and training programme that helped the country take its first steps into space.

AlSAT-1 was the first satellite in the 5-satellite Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC). Under the coordination of SSTL's subsidiary, DMCii Ltd, DMC satellite owners share image data and the infrastructure required to operate their satellite.

Algeria has developed a national space programme that takes full advantage of their satellite and DMC partnership for the benefit of the Algerian people. CNTS distributes satellite image data to Algerian institutions for cartography, pollution monitoring and petrology applications. This summer, AlSAT-1 was used to assess the damage of devastating forest fires in areas such as Djebel Belezma and Beni Fedhla, supplemented with additional data from the DMC.

AlSAT-1 also makes a valuable contribution to the DMC and assists international disaster response through the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters. Dr Azzedine Oussedik, Director General, Algerian Space Agency, explained: "We are proud of our national space programme and of our role in establishing the DMC. As a member of the DMC Consortium, we are effectively extending the reach of our capability by sharing the significant space asset that a constellation affords – a benefit enjoyed by all the DMC partners. We also earn a financial return on our investment by supplying images to DMCii for commercial purposes such as precision agriculture."

AlSAT-1 was built with a 5 year design life but is expected to continue operations for the foreseeable future. Like the other satellites in the DMC, AlSAT-1 was built by SSTL with a 32m optical imaging payload capable of imaging areas as large as 640 x 560 km very rapidly. The next generation of DMC satellites currently under manufacture at SSTL, namely NigeriaSat-2 (Nigeria), UK-DMC2 (UK) and Deimos-1 (Spain) will offer increased resolution for more detailed Earth observation.

Algeria is keen to further develop its own space industry with particular interest in Earth observation and telecommunications and in 2006, the UK Minister for Science and Technology, on behalf of the British National Space Centre, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Algerian Space Agency (ASAL).

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