Peer Through a Window Into the Past at the Musee Cirta Constantine
Located in the Algerian city of Constantine, the Musée Cirta Constantine (Cirta Constantine Museum) was built between 1920 and 1930 for the purpose of displaying the many Roman artifacts discovered by archaeologists in and around the city. The building was designed by renowned architect Cestelli and opened its doors to the public on 15 April 1931. The word "Cirta" refers to the name of the city when it was part of the Kingdom of Numidia before Roman rule, and by incorporating this into the museum's name, it indicates the ancient origin of a large percentage of the items on display in the Musée Cirta Constantine. Following the independence of Algeria in 1975, and in recognition of the priceless treasures housed there, the Musée Cirta Constantine became one of the country’s national museums.
The museum consists of a ground floor with an exhibition hall, upper floor and a garden. The exhibits are divided into three main categories: Fine Arts, Ethnographic and Archaeological. The Archaeological section is set out in chronological order in twelve rooms, offering visitors a comprehensive overview of the history of the area, right from prehistory through to present day. The Fine Arts section displays paintings and sculptures produced between the 17th and 20th century, incorporating works by well-known artists such as Gabriel Ferrier, Eugene Fromentin, Allalouche Amar, Khodja Sadek Amin, Bashir Bouchriha and Eddine Dinet. The Ethnographic section of the museum includes manuscripts relating to various sciences, as well as antique carpets, jewelry, firearms, copper items and traditional dress. The gardens of the museum showcase a collection of stone and marble sculptures and visitors can take a leisurely stroll among these in the shade of the trees.
Constantine and its surroundings have a long and fascinating history and visitors to this bustling Algerian city will find a visit to the Musée Cirta Constantine to be a richly rewarding experience.