Casbah of Algiers, commonly known as the Casbah (the citadel), one of the old cities of Algiers, capital of Algeria, of which it forms a historic district listed as World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO since 1992 in Santa Fe, in the United States, was considered a great victory for the defenders of this site whose historic value is well established.

By Rabah Arkam

The city historically occupies a strategic place by its geographic location is central to the scale of Algeria and North Africa. It faces the Mediterranean Sea and is built on land with a drop of 118 meters. Its history dates back to Antiquity, where it was first a Punic port, then Berber and finally Roman. Founded in the 10th century by the Berbers under the Zirid dynasty, it was then enriched by the contributions of other Berber dynasties which successively dominate central North Africa. It reached its peak during the period of the regency of Algiers, of which it was the seat of political power. Colonized by the French in 1830. It occupied a central role during the Algerian War, serving as a bastion for the independence by the FLN (Front de Liberation National).

The Casbah does not find its central role as an open-air museum with 1700 of the old buildings becoming less than 500, a marginalized space, most of which threaten to fall into ruin, which suffers in silence and slowly disappears, and new owners often carry out renovations according to their personal tastes, without any study.

Several rescue and project plans have been launched, which have benefited from significant financial envelopes, even with those of UNESCO, the results are still awaited. Why are the authorities not taking emergency measures? Where has the substantial funding for the renovation gone, in particular within the framework of a “strategic” partnership between the wilaya (prefecture) of Algiers and the Ile-de-France region concerning the safeguard and revitalization plan?

The evil is deeper, they took in memory of the nation by destroying the particularly rich cultural and historical heritage of the country. The reflection obliges us to build this memory and to put human and material resources if we want to relive The Casbah of its time.

Rabah Arkam, born in Kabylie (Algeria), engineer by profession, activist for the Amazigh (Berber) cause and identity in Algeria and North Africa, is a human rights activist, fights for democracy and secularism in Algeria in a federal state, he is the author of several articles.