Algerian karakou avaThe traditional clothing of Algeria is absolutely charming and very regal-looking. Especially women’s garments, not to mention bridal outfits. Rich costly fabrics, gold and silver embroidery densely covering the surface, lush massive jewelry, and intricate headdresses. And among the most beautiful and ornate Algerian traditional garments for ladies are two wonderful pieces – a djeba and a karakou. They have a lot in common, so let’s talk about both these items of clothing.

Algerian djeba

A djeba is a traditional Algerian festive full-length dress. It is often worn for special occasions, especially weddings. Most Algerian brides who want a traditional wedding outfit choose the adjeba for their special day.

A djeba is usually made from velvet fabric (the color can be different – from black to crimson to blue to burgundy to green, etc) and is richly embellished with gold or silver needlework. The sleeves are often made from lace or decorated with lace.

Although in some regions of Algeria, a djeba is sewn from cotton cloth and densely embroidered at the neckline, chest, and wrists.

Bridal djebas are the most ornate of all. They’re vivid, with plenty of embroidery, and very, very expensive. Although, people can’t even see most of the needlework because Algerian brides wear a lot – like, A LOT – of jewelry pieces. Rows and rows of necklaces often cover the bride’s chest and belly so densely you can’t see the fabric underneath. To tell you the truth, I can’t imagine how much all these jewels weigh and how hard it can be for the bride to hold them on her shoulders for many hours, but that’s the indication of her wealth and she wears her wedding apparel proudly.

Algerian karakou

A karakou is a traditional Algerian long-sleeved fitted velvet jacket. It is very similar in design and decorations to the djeba but is short and open in the front. Sometimes, it is closed in the front with buttons or hooks and eyes or it can be belted, or both.

The Algerian karakou is typically embellished with gold and silver embroidery, just like the djeba. And the needlework often covers almost the whole surface of the jacket. Or it can be located on the borders and cuffs.


Algerian djeba and karakou – ornate velvet garments of extreme beauty
Woman from Algeria wearing the traditional karakou jacket, around the 1890s. Photo from


This traditional jacket appeared in Algeria in the 19th century (it derived from another local jacket called “ghlila”) and was very popular among the local ladies. It still is. Algerian women wear a karakou today as well for various festive occasions, including weddings, formal receptions, anniversary and birthday celebrations, and so on.

These two Algerian ornate garments – the djeba and the karakou – are wonderful traditional elements of the local folk outfit. They make the whole attire look so regal and fancy.

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