Musee d'Hippone - A Chronicle of Annaba's Fascinating History
As one of Algeria's main cities, the port city of Annaba in the North East Region of the country was known as Hippo Regius during Roman times and the Musée d'Hippone chronicles the fascinating history of the area. The museum is located at the archaeological site of Hippo two kilometers south of the city. Visitors to Annaba should take some time to explore these ancient ruins, as well as the museum, which reveal much regarding the lavish lifestyle of the ancient civilizations that once occupied the area.
It is believed that the Roman settlement established at Hippo Regius was in fact built on the remains of a Numidian settlement, the ancient Berber kingdom that ruled present day Algeria and part of Tunisia between 202 BC and 46 BC. Ongoing archaeological excavations will no doubt reveal more in this regard. Hippo Regius fell under Roman control in 46 BC, but was destroyed by the Vandals in 431 CE. In 533 CE the Byzantine Empire took control of Hippo Regius, only to be conquered by the Arabs in 697, with many of the resident Christians converting to Islam by the time the area came under control of the French in 1832.
The site was cleared by archaeologists between 1945 and 1964, whereupon it was opened to the public. Starting in 2002 the area was given attention as a tourist attraction and the museum was established, along with a car park and other visitor facilities. The ruins include a theater, large public baths and a forum. Some of the superbly crafted mosaic floors remain in their original places in the ruins, but others have been moved to the Musée d'Hippone to preserve them from the elements and can be seen along with a collection of ancient artifacts and statues.