Tourism in Algeria: Historic Ketchaoua Mosque in Algiers

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Situated in the Kasbah of Algiers, the Ketchaoua Mosque has a long and interesting history.

The mosque was originally built in 1612. Later, in 1845, it was converted during French rule, to the Cathedral of St Philippe, which remained so until 1962. It was reconverted into a mosque in 1962.

In spite of these transitions over two different religious faiths in roughly the last four centuries, the mosque has retained its original grandeur and is one of the major attractions of Algiers.

During the rule of the Ottoman Empire, the Ketchaoua Mosque was strategically placed at the center of the city at the point where the roads from the lower Kasbah led out to the five gates of the city.

Overlooking a public square, the mosque has twin minarets rising up either side of the three-arched entranceway. The mosque is of Byzantine and Moorish design with graceful archways, black and white marble columns and beautiful decorations throughout. A tomb with the remains of San Geronimo is housed in one of the mosque chambers.

The mosque serves as a symbol of the restitution of the Ketchaoua Mosque to Islam and is seen as having significant religious and cultural importance. Visitors to the Algerian capital of Algiers should include the Ketchaoua Mosque on their list of interesting places to see.

In 2009, the Heritage Department of Algeria planned on carrying out improvements to the octagonal minarets, the central vault of the main fascia and the abutting staircase inside the mosque. These were planned to be completed over a 12 months schedule.

While the minaret of Ketchaoua Mosque, which was partially on the brink of partial collapse is now under restoration, plans were developed for implementation, in three stages, including the restoration of the Casbah itself, in more general terms. This plan, launched in September 2008, covers the renovation of several mosques in old Algiers and the conversion of a number of houses into libraries at an initial cost of 300 million Algerian dinars.

Visitors to Algiers will find the Ketchaoua Mosque at the end of the Casbah and it is a building that is not easily missed. The first feature that immediately strikes visitors with fascination is the twenty three step flight of stairs that lead to the mosque entrance.

Closed in 2008 after its degradation due to the 2003 quake, the mosque has been renovated by the Turkish Agency of Coordination and Cooperation (TIKA) with the contribution of Algerian firms and archaeologists, as part of the agreement signed in September 2013 by the Algerian and Turkish authorities.

In this aspect, President Bouteflika inaugurated, today, April, 9th, 2018, the renovated mosque.

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