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A map of Algeria Algeria is the largest country in Africa and the tenth largest in the world. Rising from its Mediterranean coast are the mountains and plateaus of the Atlas Mountains. Their slopes are covered by scrub. The rest of Algeria—about 90% of its land area—is made up of desert: the Sahara. Here, areas of sand dunes, called ergs, stretch for hundreds of kilometres. Other parts of the desert are rocky or gravelly. The jagged Ahaggar (Hoggar) Mountains rise steeply in the southeast. The north has a warm, sunny Mediterranean climate. In the mountains, the weather is milder, and winters are cold. A brisk, dry wind called the sirocco sometimes blows in from the south, bringing dust and grit from the desert.

A map of Algeria
Algerians at a market


Nearly all Algerians have mixed Arab and Berber ancestry. Most speak a form of Arabic called Darija, which is influenced by Berber languages; about a quarter of the population speak Berber languages. Algeria’s history as a colony of France means that French is also widely spoken. Most Algerians live along the Mediterranean coast. The desert is home to the Mozabites, who live in oases in the northern Sahara, and the Tuareg, nomadic herders.

Around 70% of lawyers and 60% of judges in Algeria are women (figures are from 2007).

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