Photograph: Ali LaferPhotograph: Ali LaferPhotograph: Ali LaferPhotograph: Ali LaferPhotograph: Ali LaferPhotograph: Ali Lafer

Name of Monument:

Kasbah (citadel)


Algiers, Algeria

Date of Monument:

Between hegira 959 and 980 / AD 1552 and 1572; AH 1000 / AD 1591

Period / Dynasty:



Arrudj Barbarossa (also known as Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha in Turkey).


The Kasbah (citadel) is situated 118 m above sea level, at the tip of the triangular arrangement formed by the ramparts that protect the medina of al-Djazaïr (Algiers). The sea forms the base of this triangle. This defensive construction turned the medina of al-Djazaïr al-Mahrussa (Algiers the well-protected) into a citadel, which was actually called 'Kasbah'.
The construction of the citadel occurred between AH 959 and 980 / AD 1552 and 1573. Construction work involving the citadel's gate was undertaken in AH 1000 / AD 1591 to replace the old gates that were judged to be 'easier to break down'. The dey Husayn commissioned the building works that were necessary for his moving in, and made it the seat of his government in AH 1232 / AD 1817. In addition to the internal barracks, it contained two palaces, the powder-magazine, the ramparts, two mosques, hammam, kitchens and various annexes. The site, which is in the process of being restored, is impressive in terms of the surface area it occupies. The number and variety of uses to which the buildings were put, as well as the transformations that they were subjected to as a result, have made their chronological history complicated.

View Short Description

The citadel sits on top of the Algiers medina at the southern edge of the ramparts that protect it, and they are the reason the town is known as 'Algiers the well-protected'. The gateway is a later addition. Following conversion, the citadel became the seat of power under dey Husayn. In addition to the janissaries' quarters, two palaces, a powder store, ramparts, two mosques, the hammam, kitchens and annexes have survived.

How Monument was dated:

Through an inscription on the entrance gate.

Selected bibliography:

Berbrugger, A., “Les casernes des janissaires à Alger”, Revue africaine, Vol. 3, 1858–9, pp.132–8.
Cresti, F., Contributions à l'histoire d'Alger, Rome, 1993.
Golvin, L., Palais et demeures d'Alger à la période ottomane, Aix-en-Provence, 1988.
Missoum, S., Alger à l'époque ottomane, Aix-en-Provence; Algiers, 2003.

Citation of this web page:

Ali Lafer "Kasbah (citadel)" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. 2020.;ISL;dz;Mon01;8;en

Prepared by: Ali LaferAli Lafer

Architecte diplômé de l'École nationale d'architecture et des beaux-arts d'Alger, stagiaire du Centre international pour la conservation et la restauration des biens culturels (ICCROM) à Rome, Ali Lafer a été architecte en chef des Monuments au ministère de la Culture pendant son service civil. Directeur de l'Atelier Casbah chargé des études d'aménagement de la médina d'Alger, il a également enseigné au cours de Tunis pour la formation d'architectes du patrimoine maghrébin. Membre fondateur de l'association “Les amis du Tassili”, il est aussi chercheur dans les domaines de la numérisation de la documentation graphique et du relevé photogrammétrique.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Maria Vlotides
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: AL 09


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