Thursday, September 27, 2012

Algeria part 5 - Kasbah of Algiers

Kasbah of Algiers
Casbah of Algeria has about 1,700 homes and more than 80,000 people! Originally, the word "Casbah" in Arabic meaning Citadel on the west overlooking the city. Gradually, the term "Casbah" and covered almost the entire city as Ancient walls that protected the Kasbah and the upper and lower parts of the city have disappeared ...
But the condition of the Casbah today? Kasbah resist natural disasters that regularly occur in Algeria, which is located on a tectonic fault? Two associations are trying to save the Kasbah, despite the weak state aid and political disinterest in it. These two associations are called "Saving Casbah» (Sauvons la Casbah) and 'Casbah Association »(Association Casbah).
The name "Casbah" is common, particularly in the Maghreb. In the so-called "Greater Maghreb", includes the following countries: Western Sahara, Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. Numerous castles and fortresses of historical cities of Algeria, called the Kasbah. Especially in Algeria called "Casbah" most often referred to as almost all the "Old Town", which in 1992 was declared a World Heritage Site.
Kasbah of old was the place for the rulers and leaders of the country, for the life and defense of the city, when it was under siege. Kasbah usually has high walls with no windows. Sometimes the walls were built on top of hills, so that they can better protect the town. Some of these walls were placed near the entrance to the harbor.
The presence of a powerful fortress - Casbah - it was considered a sign of wealth of the ruling families of the city. Almost all of the Maghreb have their Casbah, it was necessary buildings for the city to survive in ancient times. It's only when the European colonization affected North Africa - and began colonization in 1830 - in the northern Algeria, there are very large number of Kasbah. The colonization of North Africa, as you know, took more than 100 years, and during this period many of the casbah were destroyed.
The word "Casbah" is now often used to describe an old part of the city, in this case, the word has the same meaning, such as "old medina", etc. The Spanish word «Alcazaba» is related, and they are often referred to as the old buildings in Andalusia or Moorish Spain. The word goes back to the days of the conquest of Europe by the Arabs. In the Portuguese language has a similar word - «Alcáçova». In Turkish, the word "Casbah" is more related to settlements that are larger than a village but smaller than a city, in a word, it is something like a "small town."
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