Traces of Ottoman rule in Algeria revealed by researcher

Researcher compiles book on scarce Ottoman artifacts in the country

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A Turkish researcher attempting to find Ottoman artworks in Algeria, has published a book showing empire-era artworks in the north African country, according to Turkish daily Zaman.

While Algeria was under Ottoman rule for 314 years, most of the empire’s buildings and artworks were torn down after the French invasion in 1830 – with the European power bent on introducing Western-style development to the country.

But some 212 Ottoman artworks survived French colonial rule intact, according to Mehmet Tütüncü, who heads the Foundation for Research on the Turkish and Arabic World (SOTA).

“Unfortunately, few Ottoman works were left in the country. The French colonialists demolished Ottoman cities and replaced them with French Algeria, which they called 'Alger Blanc,’” said Tütüncü according to the daily.

France’s conquest of Algeria was so complete that “there is nothing left” of the military barracks and city walls on the country’s Mediterranean side.

Finding any traces of Ottoman rule left required extensive research in European libraries and archives – an undertaking hindered due to the fact that France does not allow foreign researchers to work in museums, said the researcher.

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