Algeria / Geography /
Berber: Tamurt Idurar
Other spellings: Kabylie; The Kabyle
The Kabylia stretches from the coast to the hinterland of about 125 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea. Normally the Kabylia is divided into two areas, the Djurdjura or Jurjura, or the Larger Kabylias, to the west; and the Small Kabylia to the east. The mountains of the Larger Kabylias reach summits of 2,000 metres, while the highest summits of the Small Kabylia reach about 1,200 metres.
The terrain of the Kabylias is one of the wildest of North Africa, with rugged mountains, and isolated valleys. Through large parts of the year, many areas are inaccessible because of snowfall and rain.
The isolation of Kabylia has given birth to a strong independent cultural feeling, where the Berber people of the region do not speak Arabic, but a Berber dialect named Kabyle. And it is French that is their second language.
The Kabyle population are Muslims, and women enjoy great liberty and independence. Over recent times, tens of thousands of Kabylians have converted to Christianity, the traditional religion of the region. Islam is by many considered synonymous with the dominant Arabs in Algeria.
An important traditional structure of Kabyle society are the aarush, village committees.