Blida is the capital of Blida Province in Algeria. It has a population of approximately 180,000 people and is located just 45 km away from Algiers, the country’s capital. Its name comes from a form of the word “belda”, an Arabic term that means “city”. Blida is surrounded by a beautiful natural environment near the Tell Atlas mountain range that stretches from Tunisia to Morocco and the Chiffa gorge, which is the habitat of an endangered monkey species called the Barbary macaque. The city is known for its French-influenced architecture and modern streets that are lined by shade trees. It is an important center of trade in Algeria, and is famous for the production of flour and oranges, whose blossoms fill the city with their delicious scent each spring. Blida was first founded in the 16th century by a man named Sidi-Ahmed El-Kebir, whose remains are buried in the present day city.
The city of Blida is included to the wilaya Blida.
The city of Blida covers 53.26 km² and has 163,586 inhabitants (2005 census) with a density of 3,071.46 inhabitants per km².
For the term 2012-2017.
The french name of the city is Blida.
Points of interest
If you want to get a true idea of Algerian culture, then take a short trip to Algiers, the capital of Algiera, to visit its casbah. A casbah is a type of walled fortress or citadel that is traditionally found in North African cities. The Casbah of Algiers is located on the site of the ruins of Icosium, a Phoenician trading post that became a colony of the Roman Empire in the year 146 BC. The ancient city was built on a hill that descended to the sea, hence it being divided into the High City and the Low City. Today visitors can see a number of historical monuments in the casbah area including 17th century mosques such as the beautiful Ketchaoua Mosque with its two impressive minarets and the city’s oldest mosque, Mosque El Kébir. Another important site on the casbah is the Dar Aziza Palace, which is a popular tourist attraction. The Casbah area is bustling with people and things to do, and is a great place to go for a wander and explore the labyrinthine streets of Algiers, as you can always head downhill to the sea if you need to reorient yourself.
Location: Algiers (approximately 45 km north of Blida)
One of the most impressive religious monuments in all of Algeria is Notre Dame d’Afrique basilica in Algiers. It was constructed in the mid-1800s and designed by architect Jean Eugène Fromageau, the primary architect of religious buildings in Algeria when the country was under French colonial rule. It was constructed using the Neo-Byzantine architectural style and was inaugurated in 1872 after fourteen years of construction. Notre Dame d’Afrique sits on a cliff that overlooks the Bay of Algiers, providing amazing views of the region to visitors, and at one time could be reached by using a cable car. Some refer to it as a counterpiece to Notre-Dame de la Garde, a similarly constructed Catholic basilica located across the sea in Marseille, France. As you explore the building, make sure to look for the French inscription on the basilica’s apse, which asks Notre Dame d’Afrique (Our Lady of Africa) to pray for both the Catholics and the Muslims in the area. Also note its large silver dome and beautiful blue and white mosaic frieze that adds breathtaking color to juxtapose the basilica’s sandstone walls. Inside, there are many interesting artifacts to view, including stained glass windows, paintings, mosaics, and architectural details such as arches and columns.
Location: Zighara, Algiers (approximately 50 km north of Blida)
The Great Mosque of Algiers, also known as Mosque El Kébir, is one of the most important religious sites in Algeria. It is the oldest mosque in the city, and is also thought to be the second oldest mosque in the entire country. It was constructed in 1097 under the orders of sultan Ali ibn Yusuf and is one of the few existing examples of Almoravid architecture in the world. The tall minaret by its side was constructed much later in the mid-14th century, while the gallery outside the mosque was added in 1840. The Great Mosque is located in the Casbah of Algiers near the city’s harbor. One of the most impressive elements of the mosque is its mihrab, a niche in the wall that indicates the direction of Mecca, which in turn is the direction that Muslims face while praying in the mosque. While the original mihrab was destroyed due to a bombing in 1682, the reconstructed mihrab is a simple yet beautiful fresco facade with spiral columns on either side of it. The mosque also contains a courtyard and several rooms used by the imam that are decorated with blue and white ceramic tiles.
Location: Boulevard Amilcar Cabral, Algiers (approximately 50 km north of Blida)
If the weather is nice during your visit, then make the three hour drive west to Beni Hammad Fort near the town of Maadid. Also known as Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is an impressive example of a fortified Muslim city. Beni Hammad Fort was first constructed in the 11th century, when it was used as the first capital of the Hammadid dynasty. The Hammadids were a Berber dynasty that ruled parts of northeastern Algeria between 1008 and 1152 until the Almohad dynasty took control of the area. The city was abandoned in 1090 after a large bedouin tribe known as Banu Hilal threatened the capital, and was later partially destroyed by the Almohads when they came to power. While the site is now in ruins, there are still many fascinating things to see in this historic town. Visitors can still see parts of the fortified city’s walls, several residential areas, and the second largest mosque ever built in Algeria. Dal al-Bahr, the palace, is especially interesting due to its many pavilions and gardens as well as its rectangular pool and nearby fountains. Archaeological investigations of the area have uncovered many exciting artifacts, including jewels, ceramics, and coins that belong to the dynasty.
Location: M’Sila (approximately 300 km southeast of Blida)
Belezma National Park is a beautiful protected nature area located in Algeria’s Batna Province. It was founded in 1984 and is considered to be one of the most important national parks in the entire country, covering over 260 km² of land. It is a perfect place to spend the day hiking due to the variety of natural features that it contains, including mountain peaks, deep valleys, wetlands, and plains that stretch far and wide. It is also home to an extremely diverse array of flora and fauna that includes many rare and protected species. The park contains over 400 plant species such as holly and honeysuckle plants. It also has a large cedar forest that features some trees that are over 300 years old. In terms of animals, the park provides a habitat for over 300 species, including wild boars, lynxes, weasels, porcupines, wildcats, hyenas, chameleons, and tortoises. There are also plenty of birds for birdwatchers to look for, including many raptors. The park is a popular Algerian tourist site due to its beauty as well as its fascinating archaeological sites, including a nearby mausoleum and ancient cave paintings, as well as a wildlife park that is especially popular with families.
Location: Batna (approximately 400 km southeast of Blida)
Kouba is a beautiful suburb just outside of Algiers. Its name comes from an Arabic word that means “dome”. It is a perfect place to spend a few hours exploring the streets and experiencing everyday Algerian life. Historically, it was a small village that expanded considerably during the French colonial era and eventually became a suburb of Algiers. Some of the most interesting parts of the city include its historic center and the Oasis residential area which is filled with fascinating Ottoman era mansions and provides spectacular views of the Bay of Algiers. There are also many great restaurants where you can find traditional delicacies.
Location: Kouba (approximately 45 km north of Blida)
Chiffa gorge is an important natural area in Blida Province. It is located in the Tell Atlas mountain range, which runs from Morocco to Tunisia through Algeria along the Mediterranean coast. The Chiffa area is famous for being one of the few existing habitats for Barbary macaques, an endangered species of Old World monkey. These animals are particularly interesting because the male macaques play an important role in the raising of offspring. Another great site to visit near the Chiffa gorge is Chréa National Park, one of the smallest national parks in Algeria, which contains one of the country’s few natural ski areas. It is also home to a group of Barbary macaques.
The Martyrs’ Monument in Algiers, also known as Maqam Echahid, is an important historical landmark that commemorates the Algerian War of Independence from France in the mid 1900s. It was unveiled in 1982 on the twentieth anniversary of the country’s independence at the site of an ancient military fort. The monument features three standing palm leaves that shelter what is known as the “eternal flame”, with a statue of a soldier standing at the end of each leaf. The site also contains an amphitheater, a crypt, and a fascinating underground museum.
Location: Chemin Omar Kechkar, Algiers (approximately 45 km north of Blida)
One of the most interesting monuments located in Algiers’ Casbah area is Ketchaoua Mosque. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and was built in 1612 when the area was under Ottoman rule. At the time it was built, the mosque was considered to be the exact center of the city. Those interested in architecture will be particularly fascinated by its unique blend of Byzantine and Moorish architectural styles. In 1845, the mosque was converted into St. Philippe Cathedral by the French who had colonized the area, but was eventually returned to its original state as a mosque over 100 years later in 1962.
Location: Casbah, Algiers (approximately 45 km north of Blida)
How to get there ?
By plane: The nearest airport to Blida is Houari Boumediene Airport (ALG), also commonly called Algiers Airport. It is named after Houari Boumediene, a former president of Algeria. It is an international airport that provides daily flights to large cities in Algeria as well as flights to foreign countries throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. It is located 20 km from Algiers, and approximately 50 km from the city of Blida.
From the airport, it is easy to reach the center of Algiers by using a taxi or catching one of the buses that stops at the airport every 30 minutes.
By train: Algeria has a large train network that is operated by SNTF, the country’s national rail company. Blida has a railway station, as does nearby Algiers, which can be reached by most major Algerian cities. More information about routes, times, and prices can be found on the SNTF website.
By bus: Algeria also has a large network of public buses that reach most major cities at an affordable price.
By car: It is easy to reach Blida by car using the many roads and motorways in Algeria.
By boat: International travelers can reach Algiers by ferry from European cities such as Nice, Alicante, Palermo, and Marseille.