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Arab Storyteller in Tlemcen, Algeria by Benbouzid

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THIS IS THE MIDDLE EAST.. BEAUTIFUL, FUN, NORMAL PLACE & BEAUTIFUL, FUN, NORMAL PEOPLE. NOT SOME RANDOM NONSENSE YOU SAW ON GOOGLE IMAGES OR FOX NEWS OR BREITBART OR WHEREVER TF YOU GET YOUR INFORMATION. 

PS. YES WE HAVE MODERN BEAUTIFUL CITIES, WE ALSO HAVE BEAUTIFUL AMAZING BEACHES, AND WE ALSO HAVE INCREDIBLE MOUNTAINS AND SNOW.

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For a few fleeting hours Sunday, people perched in the arid heights of northwest Algeria caught sight of something rarely seen: the Sahara Desert, shrouded in white. Residents of Ain Sefra, a small town surrounded by the Atlas Mountains of Northern Africa, walked outside to find a dusting of snow underfoot — and more than a foot of it crowding the town’s outer boundaries.

While it’s not unheard of — snow visited this landscape in December 2016, after all — the wintry weather is indeed rare for the region: As NPR’s Maggie Penman pointed out at the time, the last major snowfall in Ain Sefra before that happened in 1979.

PHOTOS: The Sahara Desert, Painted White With Snow

Photos: Zineddine Hashas and Karim Bouchetata/Geoff Robinson

A spectacular aerial view of the expansive ruins of the Roman military colony of Timgad (Batna), Algeria. The landmarks which are prominent in this image are the magnificent triumphal Arch of Trajan, ca. 100 AD and the well-preserved ancient theater. (Photo: Geo Steinmetz/John Trikeriotis). .

If you were visiting a Mediterranean harbour anywhere fro the 11th to the 19th century, you would have heard a strange yet familiar language.

Se ti saber, ti responder. Se non saber, tazir, tazir. *

Understood from Valencia to Istanbul, from Tunis to Venice, this was the language of commerce and diplomacy and commonly used among European renegades and the captives of the Algerian pirates.

This language, Lingua Franca or Sabir, flourished in the 10th century and was based on Toscan Italian and Occitan. (Back then, Catalan was a dialect of Occitan, so count us in as well!). It incorporated words from Arabic, Greek, Amazigh and Turkish, and later from Portuguese, French and Spanish, too.

[Image: expansion of the Kingdom of Catalonia and Aragon (green), its Consulates of the Sea (dots), and commercial expansion (orange lines). It is not hard to see why Sabir had such influence of Catalan.]

In the 19th century, with the expansion of European colonialism in northern Africa, Sabir was replaced by the colonizer’s languages.

Nowadays, lingua franca is used to mean any language or dialect which is used to communicate by people who speak different languages (nowadays, mainly English). This term originates from the Mediterranean Lingua Franca.

Sabir left traces in present Algerian slang and Polari, and even in geographical names. It also appears in literary works and theatre plays like Molière’s Le Bourgeois gentilhomme and different tales by Cervantes.