Post by Steven Dale
One of the challenges urban gondola transit and cable propelled transit must overcome is the issue of nomenclature. This is something we talk about a fair bit here at The Gondola Project (here, here and here, for example) and it appears to have contributed to some of our own confusion about the Algerian Gondolas.
Let me explain.
Algeria’s official language is Arabic. Owing, however, to the North African’s history of French colonization, a majority of Algerians also speak and understand French with much business, media and education conducted in that language. As such, when we’ve hunted for information on the Algerian Gondolas, we’ve tended to do so in French. Granted, pursing research in Arabic would likely yield better results than in French but sometimes you’ve just got to work with what you’ve got.
Now . . . Anecdotally speaking, the most common term for cable transit systems in French is Téléphérique. This initially presented some challenges.
Google something like Téléphérique + Constantine (go ahead, we’ll wait) and you’ll find no shortage of images, videos, pages, etc. showing something like this:
Now to any regular reader of The Gondola Project, you’ll immediately recognize this as a simple Monocable Detachable Gondola system (more specifically, it’s a 15-seater). But look what happens when you google something like Téléphérique + Algiers:
Clearly the El-Madania Téléphérique in Algiers is an Aerial Tram not an MDG system.
Which means the French word Téléphérique is more akin to the English phrase Aerial Ropeway instead of Gondola. In other words: As we’re researching the Algerian Gondolas, we have to recognize that most of them will be referenced using the umbrella term Téléphérique. Which leads to the problem:
Without any clear indicators (by way of a photo or something else), it is very difficult to determine what technologies have been or will be implemented across Algeria’s slew of 23 Téléphériques.
We also see the term Télécabine used in reference to the Constantine, Skikda and Tlemcen gondolas, but there doesn’t seem to be any exact agreement on what that term means (see the English translation of the French Wikipedia page to get an idea of the confusion). Télécabine seems to be used most commonly to describe a detachable gondola but there isn’t any clear consensus.
As such, we’ll just have to figure out each one individually, one at a time.
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