25 June 2021

TİKA Continues to Protect Our Cultural Heritage in Algeria

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) renovated an Ottoman-era open-air prayer area in the town of Kalaa in Relizane Province, Algeria.

The open-air prayer area built in 1734 in the town of Kalaa in Relizane Province, where Ishak Reis, elder brother of Hayreddin Barbarossa, was martyred, has been renovated and opened for prayer. Local people performed the first Eid prayer in the open-air prayer area during the last Eid al-Fitr while the renovation activities continued.

Keddar El-Hadj, Mayor of Kalaa, thanked TİKA on behalf of the people of the town for renovating the historical open-air prayer area. He stated that they wanted TİKA to preserve other historical buildings in the town as well, and hoped Kalaa would return to its former glory through such activities.

Dr. Alparslan Çevik, TİKA’s Algeria Coordinator, noted that the town of Kalaa has an important place in the history of both countries. He added that they requested permission from the Ministry of Culture and Arts of Algeria to implement projects in the town; that after the necessary permissions were obtained towards the end of 2020, they started to carry out activities to preserve our common cultural heritage in the town; and that their efforts would continue after the renovation of the open-air prayer area.

There has been a Turkish presence in the town of Kalaa (Kal‘atü Benî Râşid) since the first quarter of the 16th century. Many families with Turkish surnames such as Çavuş, Osman, and Türkmen still live in the town, and there are rumors that Ishak Reis, who was martyred when defending a castle in 1518, was buried in a tomb in Sidi Dahman. TİKA has also launched efforts to build a martyrs' cemetery in a cave, where 600 Ottoman soldiers who were martyred together with Ishak Reis, and local people who were executed for resisting the French occupation in 1832 were buried together.

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