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WORLD HERITAGE SITES

Timgad

Timgad is a military colony created by the III August legion in the year 100 by Emperor Trajan on the northern slopes of the Aures Mountain range (province of Batna). The ruins are noteworthy for being one of the best extant examples of the grid plan as used in Roman city planning.

The ruins of the town are located in modern-day Algeria, about 35 km from the town of Batna. The city was founded ex nihilo as a military colony, primarily as a bastion against the Berbers in the nearby Aures Mountains. It was originally populated largely by Parthian veterans of the Roman army who were granted lands in return for years in service.

Located at the intersection of six roads, the city was walled but not fortified. Originally designed for a population of around 15,000, the city quickly outgrew its original specifications and spilled beyond the orthogonal grid in a more loosely-organized fashion.

The original Roman grid plan is magnificently visible in the orthogonal design, highlighted by the decumanus maximus and the cardo lined by a partially-restored Corinthian colonnade. The cardo does not proceed completely through the town but instead terminates in a forum at the intersection with the decumanus.

At the west end of the decumanus rises a 12 m high triumphal arch, called Trajan's Arch, which was partially restored in 1900. The arch is principally of sandstone, and is of Corinthian order with three arches, the central one being 11' wide. The arch is also known as the Timgad Arch.

A 3,500-seat theater is in good condition and is used for contemporary productions. The other key buildings include four thermae, a library, and basilica.

The Capitoline Temple is dedicated to Jupiter and is approximately the same dimensions as the Pantheon in Rome. Nearby the capitol is a square church with a circular apse dating from the 7th Century AD. Southeast of the city is a large Byzantine citadel built in the later days of the city.

The city enjoyed a peaceful existence for the first several hundred years and became a center of Christian activity starting in the 3rd Century, and a Donatist center in the 4th Century.

In the 5th Century, the city was sacked by the Vandals before falling into decline. In 535 Byzantine general Solomon found the city when he came to occupy it. In the following century, the city was briefly repopulated as a primarily Christian city before being sacked by Berbers in the 7th Century and being abandoned. The city disappeared from history until its excavation in 1881.

At the time of its founding, the area surrounding the city was a fertile agricultural area, about 1000 meters above sea level. The encroachment of the Sahara on the ruins was ironically the principal reason why the town is so well preserved. Because no new settlements were founded on the site after the 7th Century, the town was partially preserved under sand up to a depth of approximately one meter until it was excavated.

Timgad was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982.

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Tipaza

Tipaza was a Punic counter and a strategic base for the Roman conquest of the Mauretanian kingdoms. It was listed among the 33 sites of the world's endangered heritage by the 26th Session of the Committee of the World Heritage in Budapest on June 26, 2002.

The modern town, founded in 1857, is famous for its sandy beaches.

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Djemila

Djemila lit. in arabic the Beautiful one, Latin: Cuicul or Curculum) is a mountain village in Algeria, near the northern coast east of Algiers, where some of the best preserved Berbero-Roman ruins in North Africa are found. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it was inscribed as such in 1982. It was recognized because of its unique adaptation of Roman architecture to a mountain environment. Buildings present in Djemila include a theatre, two fora, temples, basilicas, arches, streets, and houses.

Djemila is situated in the region bordering the Constantinois and Petite Kabylie (Basse Kabylie). This is an exceptional antique site in Algeria which inherited significant historic value. The Roman ruins, particularly well preserved, organize themselves around the forum of the Harsh, a large paved square of which the entry is marked by a majestic arch.

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Tassili N'Ajjer

Tassili N'Ajjer (provinces of Ouargla and Tamanrasset) is the vastest museum of prehistoric rock art in the world. More than 15,000 drawings and engravings tell the stories of the climate, fauna and the human life in the Sahara from 6,000 BCE to the early centuries of our era.

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Kalaat Beni-Hammade

Kalaat Beni-Hammade in Bechara, province of M'sila (about 225 km southeast of Algiers), is a Moslem stronghold, founded in 1007 and destroyed in 1152. It was the first capital of the Hammadite emirs. Notable aspects of the city include its large mosque.

It was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1980.

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The M'zab Valley

The M'zab Valley from tenth century (Ibadites).

There are five qsur walled villages (ksour) located on rocky outcrops along the Wad (river) Mzab collectively known as the Pentapolis. They are Ghardaia Tagherdayt, the principal settlement today; Beni Isguen At Isjen; Melika At Mlishet; Bounoura At Bunur; and El-Ateuf Tajnint. Adding the more recent settlements of Berianne and El Guerara, the Mzab Heptapolis is completed.

The combination of the functional purism of the Ibadite faith with the oasian way of life led to a strict organisation of land and space. Each citadel has a fortress-like mosque, whose minaret served as a watchtower. Houses of standard size and type were constructed in concentric circles around the mosque. The architecture of the M'zab settlements was designed for egalitarian communal living, with respect for family privacy.

In the summer, the Mzabites migrated to summer citadels centred around palm grove oases. This is one of the major oasis groups of the Sahara Desert, and is bounded by arid country known as chebka, crossed by dry river beds.

The Mzab Valley was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, as an intact example of traditional human habitat perfectly adapted to the environment.

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The Casbah of Algiers

The Casbah of Algiers the legendary Islamic medina in the capital Algiers.

The Casbah of Algiers is founded on the ruins of old Icosium. It is a small city which, built on a hill, goes down towards the sea, divided in two: the High city and the Low city. One finds there masonries and mosques of the 17th century; Ketchaoua mosque (built in 1794 by the Dey Baba Hassan) flanked of two minarets, mosque el Djedid (1660, at the time of Turkish regency) with its large finished ovoid cupola points some and its four coupolettes, mosque El Kebir (oldest of the mosques, it was built by almoravide Youssef Ibn Tachfin and rebuilt later in 1794), mosque Ali Betchnin (Rais, 1623), Dar Aziza, palate of Jenina. To outsiders, the Casbah appears to be a confusing labyrinth of lanes and dead-end alleys flanked by picturesque houses; however if one loses oneself there, it is enough to go down again towards the sea to reposition oneself.

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