IMG 03611. Palais des Raïs

The palace is in fact a row of several large waterfront houses, joined up to form a single compound and now home to the Centre des Arts et de la Culture. Palace 18, the main building, was begun in 1750 and completed around 1798 by the Dey Mustapha Pacha, used it as one of his residences. The French military occupied it for a while, after which it served as the American consulate, a school, and a library before becoming the most successful restoration project in the city. The buildings are used as exhibition space for some excellent shows, but much of the pleasure and interest is in seeing inside a grand, Ottoman mansion.

2. National Museum of Antiquities

The opulence of Algeria’s heritage is brought home in the understated but well chosen collection on display at the National Museum of Antiquities, a short walk from the Bardo Museum. The collection of antiquities is drawn from sites around the city and throughout Algeria. Among the early works are fine ivory carvings and large, totemic Libyan-period warriors on horseback. There is sculpture from Cherchell and mosaics from Tipaza, and a room of bronzes including a amazing fragment of a horse’s leg and hoof. There is also a collection of Islamic art from across the Maghreb.


3. Notre Dame d’Afrique

Featuring an unusual floor plan, with the choir on the southeast rather than the east side of the building, it was designed by French Algeria’s chief architect for religious buildings, Jean Eugène Fromageau. Despite having undergone several reconstructions throughout the years, its essential essence remains, along with its famous inscription:Notre Dame d’Afrique priez pour nous et pour les Musulmans.’ (‘Our Lady of Africa, pray for us and for the Muslims.’)