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  • Discover Constantine

Batna

At about 90 km from Constantine, and also one of the cities who used to be one with Cirta, batna is definitely the place to visit is interested in nature, insane mountains and great scenery, batna is also the place for you if you are interested in history ancient architecture and ruins, hosting the biggest roman ruins sight in Algeria awich is still well preserved, batna can make a really good day trip from Constantine.

 

Around Batna:

The Mausoleum of Medracen As you approach over the flat farmland, something vast and cone topped appears over the horizon which you would be for-given for thinking is a hill. It is, instead, a mausoleum and one of Algeria’s many archaeological mysteries.

The mausoleum is 18.5m high and 59m in diameter, and composed of a vast number of cut stones laid over a rubble core. It is an imposing construction, a circular base with a conical roof. It was built out of massive stone blocks, the base decorated with 60 columnstopped with Doric capitals. It was obviously intended as a royal burial place: there is afalse door and a real, hidden entrance that leads via steps to a corridor and then a cedarwood door to the empty burial chamber beyond. Now for the mystery: it was long assumed this was the burial place of Micipsa, son of the great Numidian king of Massyli, who died around 119 BC.

But carbon dating suggests that it was built earlier, perhaps before the 4th century BC, though for whom it is not known. Whenever it was constructed, the mausoleum is evidence of a sophisticated people, influenced by Berbers an Libyans, Carthaginians and Greeks, and who knew how to cut and manipulate massive stones with great accuracy.

The mausoleum lies some 34km northeast of Batna: heading towards El-Khroub and Constantine

Lambèse -Tazoult

The road from Batna towards Timgad and Khenchela makes a slight detour around the modern village of Tazoult, infamous as the location of a high-security prison, the latest incarnation of a penitentiary built by the French in 1855. But military presence here goes back much further than the French be-cause all around (and beneath) Tazoult lie the remains of a settlement that once served as the capital of Roman Numidia and was,for a long time, the partner and sometime rival of nearby Timgad. Lambaesis has disappeared from most itineraries and, if seen at all by visitors, it is usually glimpsed from the window of a car or bus as they shuttle between Batna and Timgad.

There was a small army post at Lambaesis around AD 81, manned by detachments from the Third Legion, properly called Legion III Augusta. Although the legion built a colony at nearby Timgad (p126)in AD 100, it built its main military base here in the late 120s, during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian. The legion was the only Roman force stationed in Numidia at the time, made up of some 5000 men, all Roman citizens, and their local support teams. The Emperor Septimus Severus gave the legion the title, ‘Faithful Avenger’.