It’s always fun to shop at local markets, especially in Algeria. Souvenirs and gifts are available at rock bottom prices and sellers are generally friendly. The country has a rich handicrafts industry from rugs and carpets to leatherwork, brass, copper, and even jewelry and dresses. Products made by Algeria’s desert people are some of the finest and most beautifully primitive pottery and basket weaving.
There are plenty of state-run craft markets throughout Algeria, but it is far more enjoyable to go street shopping in large cities. One of the best places is Algiers’ Didouche Mourad Street, where skilled street artists show their wares. In Tamanrasset, there is a daily market known as Marché Africaine which is liveliest in the morning. You will find a wide range of local produce including fruits and spices, grains, and a fair share of velour carpets, metal cooking pots, and traditional clothing.
Collectors typically buy mejboudi, which are meticulously embroidered velvet gowns. The best of these are found in Constantine, from the shop of the famed Bouldajdj brothers. For those who are looking for fair trade textiles, rue Merabet Mohamed in Tlemcen is a good place to start. Look for Farouk Stambouli, which is one of the oldest merchants of hand-woven blankets and rugs.
When shopping in the local markets, feel free to bargain. If you want to get an idea of how much you should be paying, visit the state-run craft markets, which have fixed rates. Shops in Algeria are mostly open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m in the morning and from 2:00 p.m to 7:00 p.m in the afternoon. Most are closed at least once a week, usually Fridays, but you will still find something open every day of the week.