Santa Cruz Castle in Algiers is a historical site known for its splendid archaeological artifacts. Apart from the castle, the fort has many other attractions.
The castle is situated at the Pic d’Aidour (also known as Mount Murdjadjo). This is over the Oran Gulf at the Mediterranean Sea. The elevation is over 1,300 ft (400 m).
What to See
From the top, one is treated to a splendid vista of Mers-el-Kebir, the military port. The chapel of the Blessed Virgin is under the hill slopes of the castle. It remains a pilgrimage site for Catholics. Known as the Santa Cruz chapel, it was created by the Bishop of Oran. He had the church built where he carried the Virgin Mary statue. Yearly, Ascension Day is observed by the residents.
The fort itself was made of very thick and long walls. These made up a circumference over 2 and 1/2 km. Robust towers were set uniformly between the Santa Cruz Castle in Algiers.
It is the second biggest port city in Algeria. It was constructed between 1577 and 1604 by Spain. In 1831, the French would occupy the site. The building of the fort involved carrying materials over the hills. This was a difficult process.
Before the Spaniards came, it was the Ottomans who first built a fort in the area. Following the Spanish conquest of the Ottomans, the Spaniards modified the structure.
Spain would rule the area for three centuries up to 1792. Under Spanish rule, the extensive modifications of the fort took place. It became necessary as it was attacked numerous times.
If you are taking the bus, expect the fare to be around $5 to $6. The trip to the castle will also depend on the tour operator. Usually, the site is included among various other sightseeing spots in the itinerary. The expenses will be part of the package you paid for.
The kasbah was the office of the Spanish governor. It was set between the towers of the fort. The fort was constructed with water, lime, sand, iron and wood. The complex is equipped with a rainwater storage harvesting system. The biggest tank has a capacity of 300,000 liters.
The Santa Cruz Castle in Algiers has always been a popular tourist site. The chapel has been given a makeover and now has a tower. It houses a Virgin Mary statue. The figure is a replica of the one in Notre Dame de la Garde in Marseilles.