Chic African Culture

Barbarossa brothers, a Hebrew trading post and an Islamic City

Barbarossa brothers, a Hebrew trading post and an Islamic City

About the Algiers Casbah


Casbah means a fortified place in Arabic

Casbah from the Arabic word for a fortified place were commonly built across North Africa. A Casbah is a large multi-building fort with high walls usually made without windows built on high ground.  The Casbah was designed to provide protection during a battle with twisting alleys that wind between dilapidated mud-brick and stucco houses. In Algeria, the Casbah is both the fortress and the old city itself.

When people speak of the Casbah, they are talking about the cramped living quarters on the hillside between the fort and the sea on the Mediterranean coast. The Islamic retreat Casbah of Algeria was founded on the ruins of an ancient Hebrew civilization trading post named Ikosim.

Algiers Casbah
In the 10th century a Berber man named Buluggin bin Ziri called the new city El Djazair, which means "the islands" in Arabic. From El Djazair derived the name Algiers and later Algeria. The Casbah’s nickname is La Blanche, meaning the white one.

In 1516, the three Barbarossa brothers ruthlessly overtook the Casbah. Having been invited to Algiers by the high ranking official Selim al-Toumi at-Thabiti to help with the Spanish, the Barbary pirate Aruj al-Din Barbarossa captures the city instead, and orders Selim's killed. 

Algiers is attacked from 1520-1524 is attacked and the leader of the Barbary pirates, Khayr al-Din Barbarossa, retreats to  Jijelli in Algeria.


Barbarossa re-conquers Algiers in 1525 and retains the post until his death. Algiers Casbah eventually became a stronghold of Barbary pirates who plundered ships and towns throughout the Mediterranean, along West Africa's Atlantic seaboard, to South America, and even all the way to Iceland.



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