Sunday, 28 February 2016

Tunisia: The Smallest Country in North Africa

Tunisia, officially the Tunisian Republic or the Republic of Tunisia is the northernmost country in Africa, covering 165,000 square kilometres (64,000 sq mi). Its northernmost point, Ras ben Sakka, is the northernmost point on the African continent. It is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Tunisia's population was estimated to be just under 10.8 million in 2013. Tunisia's name is derived from its capital city, Tunis, which is located on Tunisia's northeast coast.

Geographically, Tunisia contains the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains and the northern reaches of the Sahara desert. Much of the rest of the country's land is fertile soil. Its 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) of coastline includes the African conjunction of the western and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Basin and, by means of the Sicilian Strait and Sardinian Channel, features the African mainland's second and third nearest points to Europe after Gibraltar. The currency is Tunisian dinar (TND).

Some interesting facts are:
1. Tunisia is the northernmost African country, apart from being the smallest nation situated along the Atlas mountain range.

2. Kairouan city is the fourth most important city in the Muslim world after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.

3. The Tunisian oasis at Kebili has been found to be containing evidence of Stone Age settlements.

4. Till date, Tunisia has had only two presidents - Habib Bourgiba, who ruled from 1956 until 1987, and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who assumed power in a bloodless coup in 1987.

5. Most nationalities do not require Visas to enter the country.

6. The highest point in Tunisia is formed by Jebel ech Chambi (1,544 m).

7. 98% of the population are Muslims.

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Sunday, 7 February 2016

Algeria: The Country in a Desert

Algeria, officially People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in North Africa on the Mediterranean coast. Its capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the country's far north. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, and the largest in Africa and the Arab world. Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. The country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 48 provinces and 1,541 communes. Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been President since 1999.

Ancient Algeria has known many empires and dynasties, including ancient Numidians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Umayyads, Abbasids, Idrisid, Aghlabid, Rustamid, Fatimids, Zirid, Hammadids, Almoravids, Almohads, Ottomans and the French colonial empire. Berbers are generally considered to be the indigenous inhabitants of Algeria. Following the Arab conquest of North Africa, most indigenous inhabitants were Arabised; thus, although most Algerians are Berber in origin, most identify with Arab culture. En masse, Algerians are a mix of Berbers, Arabs, Turks and Black Africans.

The North African country supplies large amounts of natural gas to Europe, and energy exports are the backbone of the economy. According to OPEC Algeria has the 17th largest oil reserves in the world and the second largest in Africa, while it has the 9th largest reserves of natural gas. Sonatrach, the national oil company, is the largest company in Africa. Algeria has one of the largest militaries in Africa and the largest defence budget on the continent; most of Algeria's weapons are imported from Russia, with whom they are a close ally. Algeria is a member of the African Union, the Arab League, OPEC, the United Nations and is the founding member of the Maghreb Union. The currency is Dinar (DZD).

Some interesting facts are:
1. Over 90% of Algeria is covered by the Sahara desert.

2. Unlike in other Islamic nations, women in Algeria have gained more prominent status in the society. Women make up 60% of Algeria’s judges, 70% of the lawyers, and 60% of the student population. What’s more, they have a bigger household income contribution than men.

3. Algeria is the largest oat market in Africa.

4. In 2007, a court in Algeria had to rule on the ownership of a donkey which had eaten the money brought by a purchaser for its sale.

5. The National holiday, called Revolution Day, is on November 1.

6. Algerian singer Cheb Mami sang with Sting on 1999 hit Desert Rose.

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Some beautiful places are:

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