Algiers is the capital and largest city ofAlgeria. According to the 1998 census, the population of the city proper was 1,519,570 and that of the urban agglomeration was 2,135,630.In 2009, the population was about 3,500,000. An estimate puts the population at about 3,574,000 as of 2010.
Called El-Behdja or alternatively Alger la Blanche ("Algiers the White") for the glistening white of its buildings as seen rising up from the sea, Algiers is situated on the west side of a bay of the Mediterranean Sea. The modern part of the city is built on the level ground by the seashore; the old part, the ancient city of the deys, climbs the steep hill behind the modern town and is crowned by the casbah or citadel, 122 metres (400 ft) above the sea. The casbah and the two quays form a triangle.
The city name is derived (via French Alger and Catalan Alger) from the Arabic name which translates as "The Islands", referring to the four islands which lay off the city's coast until becoming part of the mainland in 1525. Al-Jazā’ir is itself a truncated form of the city's older name, "The Islands of the Sons of Mazghanna", used by early medieval geographers such as al-Idrisi and Yaqut al-Hamawi