Algerian Holidays: Bejaia, the Kabylian Capital
Today I’ve visited Bejaia, the Great Kabylian (Bgeya, Tamurt n leqbayel). Bejaia city can be called the capital of the Berber culture in Algeria since it has the most Berber speakers and territory why it is called the La Grande Kabylie. I am not here to tell how the Little Kabylian (Tizi-Ouzzou) is different from the Great Kabylian (Bejaia) that have only 100 kilometer difference, but they are totally different in matter of openness in a negative way. Since Bejaia is one of the most famous touristical city of Algeria, it has lost much of its modesty and called back more irreligious Kabylian tradition such as women doing their affairs without hijab anywhere while talking loudly. However, it can be seen anywhere in Algeria, but in Bejaia it is worse. Also, another stereotypical trait that I had already in my mind is the Kabylian and French language that dominate against Arabic; indeed, Arabic is almost taboo if you could speak Berber.
But let’s put away the stereotypes and starting my little journey. From the mountain village where I stayed (80 kilometers from Bejaia), we did an almost three-hours trip followed by Kabylian Sha3bi music that is the first differential thing contrasted to Algiers or any part of Algeria. Music in transport is a universal taboo for respecting religious people. Nevertheless, Sha3bi is a kind of music that has wisdom and more speech than instruments, so I tried to enjoy the 3 hours Kabylian mix even if I couldn’t understand a single word. Hahaha.
The city at the first sight is very clean, organized and brightening. I can say it is even more organized and clean than the Algerian capital itself; however, Algiers the White will be always Algiers the White. At the second sight, the only difference is the Kabylian characters written under the French and Arabic ones that played no role for me. Hah…
The city at the first listening has been amazing for me. Anywhere I went, I heard strange Kabylian language that gave me such a feeling as if I visited a foreign country inside my country. The more amazing thing about it is if I talked to the people in Algerian Arabic, everybody answered me in Algerian Dialect even if with a strong accent sometimes. This is a very good point for the Kabylian people that they respect if strangers cannot understand them; however, be careful because it is not guaranteed that they don’t joke on you behind your back! Haha… Another good point to the Kabylie is the welcoming politeness that’s even if in French deserves mentioning as a good touristical trait.
To cut it short, my brother and I climbed the the mountain of Mother Goumaya:
We visited the Monkey Picknics and the Carbon Cap:
Then, we returned home within another 3 hour trip of Kabylian music. Overall, we might miss only one Bejaian merit this time that is swimming among the rocks under the Zigwat. 😍
Vive la Kbayle!
Nostalgic moment: It has been four years that I have been here in Bejaia right after I came from Hungary for the first time.
The worst moment: After having done two steps in Bejaia – as everywhere in Algeria – there are hills of trash.