Kasr el bey (palace of the bey)
Hajj Ahmed became bey or ruler of Constantine in 1826, and started building his new palace two years later.
Progress was slow, partly due to objections of the more powerful dey of Algiers, but Ahmed finally occupied his new home in 1835. Beyond the high white walls lies one of the finest Ottoman-era buildings in the country. With a series of courtyards surrounded by tiled arcades, it is filled with gardens of olive and orange trees, and decorated with Tunisian and French tiles. Ahmed’s enjoyment of this wonderful place was short-lived because two years after he moved in, the French chased him out and turned the palace into their headquarters. After independence the Algerian military moved in. The palace has been closed for more than 25 years but was undergoing significant restoration at the time of research. It’s a massive project – there are, for instance, some 250 marble columns, acres of tiles and 45 carved cedarwood doors. A completion date was not announced, but it may be possible to visit by contacting the Agence Nationale d’Archéologie et de Protection des Monuments et Sites.