Algiers (Arabic: الجزائر al-Jazāʼir, literally "the Islands"; Berber: Ldzayer, French: Alger) is the capital and largest city of Algeria in North Africa. According to the 1998 census the population of the city proper was 1,519,570, whilst the total for the agglomeration was 2,135,630. Nicknamed al-Bahjah (البهجة) or Alger la Blanche ("Algiers the White") for the glistening white of its buildings as seen sloping up from the sea, it is situated on the west side of a bay of the Mediterranean Sea. The city name is derived from its location on the slopes of the "Sahel", a chain of hills parallel to the coast. Algiers is the only Algerian city with an English name different then its French name. The urban area of Greater Algiers is the largest one in the Maghreb after Greater Casablanca.
The modern part of the city is built on the level ground by the seashore and the old part, the ancient city of the deys, climbs the steep hill behind the modern town and is crowned by the casbah or citadel, 400 feet above the sea. The casbah and the two quays form a triangle.
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