One of the most important historical monuments of the city of Algiers, it is one of the last physical witnesses of the extension of the old city (Kasbah of Algiers) to the sea, during the Ottoman period from the 16th to the 19th century.
An integral part of the medina of El Djazaïr, this district is detached, even isolated from its traditional environment following the upheavals and restructuring suffered by the Kasbah in the French era.
In 1909, the architectural complex (Bastion23) was classified as a historic monument under the name "Group of Moorish houses", both for its architectural interest and as the last quarter of the lower Kasbah. This classification was renewed by the public authorities on 20 December 1967 by Order No. 281-67.
In 1991, the Kasbah (Medina of El Djazaïr) was erected and classified as a national and then world heritage site by UNESCO in December 1992.
This double classification confirms the recognition and importance given by national and international authorities to this architectural and urban jewel delimited by a protection and safeguarding perimeter that includes the Palais des Raïs.
It is responsible for:
- Organize and host permanent and temporary exhibitions related to cultural heritage.
- Participate in the popularization of the arts and public awareness for the protection of cultural heritage.
- To make available to the public documentation in the fields of art, history and archaeology, in relation to the Kasbah of Algiers.
- Ensure a constant balance between exploitation (animation) and preservation of the site.
Today, the Palais des Rais offers visitors the opportunity to stroll through a historical and cultural environment. Stops alternate and rhythm museum activities in the palaces, and scientific activities in the conference room, library and archive rooms. A playful tour planned around meeting places (fishermen's houses), leisure activities, shows for children, concerts, poetic evenings... are organized on the terrace (battery) overlooking the bay of Algiers.
Arcs : The arches connecting the columns of the galleries are of an overstepped shape, broken at the top and built at four centres.
On the other hand, those of the large doors are semi-circular (imported marble) with croissants carved at the top in each corner.
Those of the niches or alcoves beds, inside the large rooms, are also of full arch, coated with plaster.
Chapters : In Italian Baroque style: a kind of acanthus (ornamental plant used in Greco-Roman architecture) with scrolls of corners in sticks and garlands of flowers, a crescent is carved there (Symbol of Muslim culture).
Balustrades : Made of finely crafted wood, on the first floor, between each interlocking, they consist of three parts: a base plate at the base, a long band composed of two horizontal posts and vertical posts assembled in the centre, determine successively square and rectangular spaces.
The three parts are connected by an alignment of bars turned into spindles, panels are carved and perforated.
Chimneys : They serve the kitchens and homes of hammams. Overhung by a roof, several arched openings allow the evacuation of smoke.
EARTHENWARE TILES : In the same house several varieties of tiles are mixed, many of which have been imported from Tunisia, Italy and Spain. The Delft earthenware imported from Holland, in a beautiful Camaïeu blue, adorns the top of the patio facades (Wast edar); it certainly had a special place in the decoration of the palaces.
Voutes : They cover the Skiffa (the entrance hall), the kitchen, the hammam and the basements. These are ridge vaults.
COLUMNS (Ârs) : Made of marble or tuff, cylindrical or octagonal, twisted or decorated with fluting, they were probably imported from Italy. The patio ones are twisted all summer long, while on the first floor, half twisted (bi-morphic), the lower half holds the balustrade by simply interlocking its support piece. Double columns (binoculars) installed to support the entrance arch are
also visible at the Doukanattes (Skiffa niches).
DECORATED CEILINGS : They have exposed beams (cedar logs) in the galleries. Inside the rooms, painted floors conceal the beams and reveal real carpets with their frames. Geometric and floral figures on polychrome backgrounds are majestically executed or carved fruit baskets mixed with round or square shapes (palaces18).
WINDOWS : Square in shape, sometimes with white marble frames lined with ceramic tile bands, wrought iron grills protect them from both break-ins and falls. A shale plate protects the wooden frame of the front window from infiltration.
Tringles : They have a decorative (furniture) and non-constructive role, for hanging objects, draperies or other...
The K’BOU (Alcôve) : A recessed space that can be seen as a corbel from the outside (feet of legs).
An opening on the side allows to see the street along the house. Ideal place for conversation, reception or delicate manual work.
The Doukana : Bench built in the thickness of the wall and covered with ceramic, slate or marble tiles, surmounted by an arch supported by twin columns.