Algeria: Capltal - Algiers
Algeria (French Algerie), officially Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, republic of western North Africa; bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea; on the east by Tunisia and Libya; on the south by Niger, Mali, and Mauritania; and on the west by Morocco. Its total area is 2,381,741 sq km (919,595 sq mi).Algeria has four main physical regions, which extend east to west across the country in parallel zones. In the north, along the Mediterranean coast and extending inland for 80 to 190 km (50 to 120 mi), is the Tell. The region consists of a narrow and discontinuous coastal plain backed by the mountainous area of the Tell Atlas, a range of the Atlas Mountains system.
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The numerous valleys of this region contain most of Algeria’s arable land. The country’s principal river, the Chelif (725 km/450 mi long), rises in the Tell Atlas and flows to the Mediterranean Sea; no permanent streams are found south of the Tell. The next region, lying to the south and southwest, is the High Plateau, a highland region of level terrain. Several basins here collect water during rainy periods, forming large, shallow lakes; as these dry they become salt flats, called chotts, or shatts. South of this lie the mountains and massifs of the Saharan Atlas. The fourth region, comprising more than 90 percent of the country’s total area, is the great expanse of the Algerian portion of the Sahara. Much of the terrain is covered by gravel, although the Grand Erg Oriental and the Grand Erg Occidental are vast regions of sand dunes. In the south, rising above the desert, are the Ahaggar Mountains, which culminate in Mount Tahat (3,003 m/9,852 ft), the highest peak in Algeria.
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The Tell region in the north has a typical Mediterranean climate, with warm, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. This is the most humid area of Algeria, with an annual precipitation ranging from 400 to 1,000 mm (16 to 39 in). The mean summer and winter temperatures are 25C (77F) and 11C (52F), respectively. During the summer an exceedingly hot, dry wind, the sirocco (known locally as the Chehili), blows north from the Sahara. To the south the climate becomes increasingly dry. Annual precipitation in the High Plateau and Saharan Atlas ranges from about 200 to 400 mm (about 8 to 16 in). The Sahara is a region of daily temperature extremes, wind, and great aridity; annual rainfall is less than 130 mm (5 in) in all places.
Most of the natural wealth of Algeria lies in its sizable mineral deposits, notably crude petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, and iron ore. Other minerals include coal, lead, and zinc. The arable land comprises only about 3 percent of the total area and is located mainly in the valleys and plains of the coastal region.
Algeria has obliged itself to cooperate with other nations in protecting the Mediterranean Sea from pollution and degradation of sensitive habitats and to work toward a goal of the protection of more than 5 percent of its land. Algeria has ratified an international convention on wetlands.