The Romans, Spanish, French, Arabs and indigenous peoples have influenced architecture, music and literature in Algeria. Since independence, the government has promoted the revival of Arab heritage, which was suppressed during the French colonial period. The government has built handicraft centres to give local artists the opportunity to use traditional methods in crafts such as rug making, pottery, embroidery, jewellery and brass metalwork. The National Institute of Music promotes traditional music, dance and folklore.

Algeria has a rich architectural heritage that includes Roman ruins, beautiful Arab mosques decorated with mosaics, Turkish palaces and European-style public buildings. Many historic buildings can be seen in the old part of each town or city, known as the medina, which is characterized by narrow, winding streets and traditional houses built around central courtyards. The desert oasis of El Oued in eastern Algeria is known as the Village of a Thousand Domes, because nearly all the buildings have domes, which were designed to alleviate the intense summer heat.

In western Algeria, Spanish, Moroccan and Algerian musical traditions have come together to produce a form of music called raï (pronounced "rye"). Raï was originally tribal music from the countryside around Oran, which was usually performed at traditional festivals and weddings. Today, raï is played with modern instruments. The music is simple and rhythmic, often repetitive, with lyrics in the local dialect. Some famous raï artists are Cheikha Remitti, Cheb Khaled and Cheb Mami. More traditional types of music are also popular in Algeria, especially the haunting desert music (badoui), and a type of folk music known as chaabi.

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The fashion designer Yves St. Laurent was born in Oran, Algeria, in 1936. He went to school in Algeria before moving to Paris to pursue a career in fashion.

Algerian writers include Arabic, Berber and French-speaking authors. Kateb Yacine is considered one of Algeria's most important and influential writers. His book Nedjma, published in the 1950s, was set during the war against the French. Rachid Mimouni wrote about politics and history in books such as The Curse (which won The Prix du Levant) and The Honour of the Tribe. The books of Tahar Djaout, Les Chercheurs d'Os (The Searchers for Bones) and Les Vigiles (The Vigils), depict life in modern Algeria. Mouloud Mammeri and Mouloud Feraoun have written about Berber life. Mohammed Dib is an innovative and prolific novelist and poet.

Assia Djebar is a woman writer who has described the lives of Algerian women in books such as So Vast the Prison and A Sister to Scheherezade. Albert Camus, a French writer who lived in Algeria, is famous for his existential novels L'Etranger (The Stranger) and La Peste (The Plague).

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Algerian films include Mohammed Lakhdar Hamina's Chronicle of the Burning Years, which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1975. Merzak Allouache's films Bab el Oued City (1994) and Salut Cousin! (1995) have introduced European and North American audiences to Algerian life.