Algeria – a country almost unknown to English-speaking people apart from oil workers and diplomats-is a land of arresting beauty. The largest country in Africa, it’s huge, and much larger to see from the sky than from the land. Now it’s possible to explore this enormous land using state of the art drone technology from the comfort of your laptop on YouTube.
In the last few years some awesome video footage has become easily available on YouTube that really gives you a feel for what it would be like to explore the place.
In 2015 the French film director Yann Arthus-Bertrand produced a wonderful aerial documentary that takes you the length and breadth of Algeria.
Even if you don’t speak French, the pictures of this 1 1/2 hour-long documentary speak for themselves.
Just last week some great shots of Algiers taken by a drone were released on YouTube
This fairly short clip shows many of the city’s fine buildings, including the Martyrs memorial built after the French left the country in 1962 and the iconic post office building. There’s praise in the many comments on the film for the photography, and also criticism from some for focussing on colonial architecture. The comments on some social media sites by Algerians were revealing.
How lovely! However, you can only see colonial landmarks. Why not show us what Algerians have built. That way you could better see the hidden face of Algiers!
For people in the UK, seeing endless pictures of castles and cathedrals in England built by the colonising Normans don’t have the save bitter taste. Maybe this was because the native English effectively tamed the Normans, and even pushed back the onslaught of the French language. But the scars of the ‘sale guerre’ of independence understandably still run deep for many Algerians.
For something a bit different, have a look at the drone footage of the Aurès mountains north of the city of Batna in the Algerian interior. These mountains were where the independence war was launched by the Algerian nationalists in November 1954.
An area of austere and Alpine beauty, it is no more than 100 kilometers or so north of the Sahara desert. Not only does this film show some of the really great professional drone productions coming out of Algeria, produced by people who are rightly proud of their beautiful country. It also reveals in a new way a land that deserves to be visited by a lot more people from overseas than it is at the moment.