Architectural jewels and witnesses of Algiers glorious past, most of the palaces which still stand in the middle of Kasbah ruins now serve as seats for administrations or museums. A transformation that makes them lose their splender.
Built and inhabited by Ottoman dignitaries like Hassen Pasha, Mustapha Pasha or several Rais (captains of the Algerian fleet under Ottoman regency), these palaces served as residences of notables and places for political power exercise during the regency.
After several renovation operations, these Palaces which, are now placed under the authority of Culture Ministry or that of Religious Affairs Ministry, have another role which doesn’t guarantee their safeguarding.
Mustapha Pasha Palace is one of the main preserved palaces. Built in 1798, it was first the main residency of the Ottoman dignitary it was named after, then national library under the French occupation until 1948, it shelters, since 2007 the National Museum of illumination, miniature and calligraphy.
Not far from this palace, stands Dar Hassen Pasha, another prestigious residence built in 1791 for the Dey of Algiers on the side of the Ketchaoua Mosque. Nowadays, it displays a faded mine, bringing out the impression of neglect, even if the restoration works, began a few years ago seem to move forward.
Headquarters of the first French government, after undergoing some architectural modifications, then administrative seat of Religious Affairs ministry after Independence, the "Winter Palace" of Algiers Dey has today a hideous face, with an obstructed entry by a large pile of rubbish.
In front of it stands Dar Aziza (House of Aziza), one of the oldest palaces of Algiers Kasbah and last witness of the Djenina (set of palaces removed by the French administration just after the capture of Algiers), which construction dates back to late 16th Century.
Currently it houses the headquarters of the Office of Management and Exploitation of Cultural Goods (OGEBC). Several rehabilitation works have been completed, which the latest in 2003.
In the same district, Dar Khedaoudj El Amia, a house of the 16th century built by a Navy officer, Rais Yahia, shelters since 1987, the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions.
After a first series of renovation works, started following May 2003 seism, this palace which remains fragile is safeguarded only by some shoring beams, laid more than five years ago.