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  • Discover Constantine

Annaba

At around 154km form Constantine, it can be an excellent day trip, the road is magical and nature is splendid all the get to another magical neighboring province which used to make one giant province with Constantine along with many other cities, nature beaches history definitely a trip to make.

 

Bône la Coquette (the Elegant) they used to call it, and the center of town has retained some of its charms, if a little jaded. The cours de la revolution was the center piece of the French city and remains the bustling heart today. Along, broad street, its lanes separated by a broad, tree-shaded esplanade, it also boasts the city’s most elaborate architecture, where, with buildings such as the Amphorae and the Lion & Caryatid, colonial architects vied to outdo each other in the extravagance of their façades. In the middle, palms and giant fig trees provide shade for a number of popular outdoor cafés, where the city’s elderly and idle while away the day.

The ruins of the ancient city of hippo regius also known as Hippone, are among the most evocative in Algeria, stretched across a rolling site, full of flowers, rosemary, olive trees, birds and sheep, and overlooked by the imposing, colonial-era Basilica of St Augustine. You enter from what was the seafront, the water having receded several hundred metres over the millennia. There is a good plan of the site by the entrance. It is worth climbing the small hill to the m us e u m, before seeing the ruins. The ground floor contains a good collection of sculpture in the Salle des Bustes, including the Emperor Vespasian found in the forum. The star piece of the museum, the unique 2.5m- high Trophy, is a bronze representation of a post on which is hung a cape and military armour. On the wall is a fine mosaic of four Nereids. There are more mosaics across the hall, the most impressive being a 3rd- century hunting scene, in which lion, leopards and antelope are chased into a trap. Another mosaic, of a fishing scene, includes a view of 3rd-century Hippo.

The ruins are spread over a large area. The district near the entrance and sea-front was residential and the remains of several villas can be visited, their courtyards marked by columns, some of the walls and floors still visible. The so-called Villa of the labyrinth and villa of the procurateur are the most impressive. Here too are the remains of the smaller southern baths.

The path continues to the Christian quarter where the 42m-long outline of the grand basilica can still be traced, especially its central apse, which unusually faces north, while its floors are still covered with mosaics. This may well have been the basilica where St Augustine was bishop the date is right, but there is no other evidence to prove the possibility. A path of massive paving slabs, laid over drains, leads to the market (a central dias reached by three steps and enclosed by four acanthus-capped columns) and then on to the forum. It stands 76m by 43m, with some of its 3.6m-high columns still intact. The forum was surrounded by a colonnade, several small shrines, a fountain at the north end and latrines to the south. In the middle stood the ancient capital and severalstatues (of which nothing remains), and beyond is an inscription by one of the city’s benefactors, C Paccius Africanus, made proconsul in AD 78 by Emperor Vespasien. The great North Baths, beyond the forum, were closed at the time of research. Towering above the ruins, on its own small hill, the colonial era Basilica Saint Augustine.

Rue des Frères Boucherit leads off the Cours, to the place du 19 Aout 1956, the center point of the old town, some of it dating back to the 16th century, when the pirate Kheireddin Barbarossa claimed Annaba for the Ottoman sultan. The streets here are narrower and the houses less elaborate. There is a small second-hand and food market in the square most days. The Bey’s mosque, built soon after Barbarossa had taken the town, looks over the square and is the largest in this part of town. More interesting is the mosque of Sidi Bou Merouane 250m away, reached via a steep climb up the street. Named after an 11th-century holy man, the mosque is smaller than the Bey’s but built using columns and stones from Hippo.

Annaba has plenty of sights to offer but perhaps the most important is the long set of beaches it offers, it is indeed such a wonder, some say that it may be the best views you can get around all Algeria, so yeah don’t forget to enjoy the beaches and the sea and most importantly have fun and love Algeria.