Frenda, Algeria, a forgotten tourist area

 

Algeria, the largest country in Africa, has much to share as a civilization and as a nation. Like many African countries, Algeria is undoubtedly a pleasant place to visit to explore new ways, cultures, and history.

Tourists in Algeria will find an exceptional combination of historical events, natural views, and interesting culture to explore. It gives a fundamental sense of life and human existence. 

In today's blog topic, I'll be your guide into my local town of Frenda, in Algeria, which happens to be one of the most unknown tourist cities in the country. 

Frenda and it's Algerian culture

The Algerian culture is a combination of literature, religion (for the most part), art, and food. The mother tongue in Algeria is Arabic, but French is also widely spoken as a second language, as a result of the French occupation which ended in 1962. Over the ages, it has been a center for many great writers, scientists, and philosophers, such as Ibn Khaldoun (born in 1332), who is considered to be the founder of social science.

If you are a fan of his work, you should visit the castle of Beni Salama and the caves of Togzout in Frenda, my home town. The daily lifestyle in the Algerian community has its own unique flavour, and the people are genuinely nice and interesting.

But as a tourist where should you go and what should you see in the city of Frenda? 

Caves Ibn Khaldoun

If you ask any local resident about the fort of Beni Salama the first thing that comes to their minds are the caves of Ibn Khaldoun, a name that rings a bell, right? These caves are approximately 10km from Frenda, in a small village known as Taoughazout.

The caves carry the name of the Tunisian Ibn Khaldoun because he lived in them as a refugee from a lord from Tlemcen. The first thing to know about the caves is that people used to live, study, and have meetings in them. There are signs and proof of exciting classes and big rooms. Some of the caves are small like jail cells, others are bigger than regular rooms. 

The locals are genuinely respectful and great people, and most importantly, they are extremely friendly.

If you’re interested in seeing great architecture that goes back to the 16th century or further, you can always go and visit Tlemcen. This is the Algerian golden city that defines the Islamic culture of the Othmanian Empire. You could also see the fort of Santa Cruz, located in Oran and why not explore the amazing coast and beach.

I also love visiting the dam in our city. This dam is a very popular place for locals to visit, some with their families, especially in the spring. Others go there to clear their minds or to run. You can also go and fish there, if you like fishing. For me, the dam is my favourite place to hang out, jog, fish and enjoy the clean fresh air.

The Tombs of Lejdar, Djeddars

About 30km on the way to the state capital of Tiaret you will find the pyramids of Lejdar. Yes, it is true! Algeria also has its own share of pyramids, but not like the ones in Egypt or Sudan.

Like the caves of Ibn Khaldoun, the pyramids of Frenda-Lejdar (also called Jedars or Djeddars) are not famous as a tourist area for foreigners or for locals. The pyramids are the remains of the old Roman Numidia empire that once ruled the north of Africa. 

The 13 pyramids were built as tombs for the Berber's kings and royal family. There is a distance of about 6km between each of them.

If you get tired from visiting the tombs, you can refresh yourself by taking a swim in one of the local pools, such as the semi-Olympic pool in Frenda.

One more thing, the pyramids of Lejdar are not the only pyramids that exist in Algeria. There are actually 100 pyramids in Algeria, most of them in the north, such as the tombs in Tibaza. 

Algerian food, the African Italian

Chakhcouhka

For any foreigner who visits this city and gets to know its locals and their way of life, it's only a matter of time for it to fell into the locals. The town culture or the Algerian culture is like any other culture in the world, a unique one. It's culture shares some similarities with nothing African Islamic countries such as Tunisia and Morocco but it is slightly different.

Its people are well educated and cultured, and they own a high sense of art and music. They worship the food, and you can almost call them the African Italians for their big appetites and unique choices about food.

The most famous dish is couscous, and for some historical reason, the majority of Algerian families eat couscous each Friday as a tradition. There are other famous dishes, for example, Osban, Chtithaa, and Chakhcouhka, which is considered one of the common dishes to serve at weddings, and which is made mostly with meat. Moreover, you can check out some of the traditional restaurants to get a good taste of these dishes and experience them.

pic: thanks to kaouther djouada

I like hanging out with friends at one of the local cafeterias like the one in my neighborhood, the cafeteria of Salem. It's very quiet and simple, and has 4 chairs around each table. A young man works as a waiter and the menu includes coffee and tea, some sweet candies and cakes. Of course, there is no beer though.

What next?

I strongly think that what will hold your attention besides the food, culture, and tourist areas in Frenda and Tiaret are the ways the Algerians express how proud they are of being Algerian, and this is certainly reflected in their traditional clothes.

In the north are amazing areas like Tizi Ouzou and Bejaia,  where you will find old traditional Berber clothes. Girls wear scarves and hide their hair, like Berber princesses. 

Going a little west, the style of clothing will change into an old Arabian style like the long robes that Arabs used to wear. 

Final thought

Taking a tour  through the streets of my incredible city is like walking into an open book full of amazing stories. It is a living breathing book filled with historical events that changed the world as we knew it.

Frenda, this North African city is a living museum of what the ancient world was like and living proof of the ancient civilization.

Written by Djafri Mohamed Amine from Frenda, Algeria

 

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