Unlock a Wealth of History and Culture in Batna
Batna is the name of both a city and a province in north eastern Algeria. Although the origin of the name is unknown, most historians agree that it is a mixture of arabo-berberian and can be loosely translated into "where we sleep this night". Geographically speaking, Batna is located between the north and south Atlas Mountains and this means that the mountains rise on either side to form a sort of naturally protective passage over the province. The climate tends to vary quite widely - with extreme heat during the summer and snow and cold during the winter.
The city of Batna started life as a French military fortress. The fortress, which was built in 1844, was built to enable the French to control access between the Sahara and the Atlas Mountains along the Kantara Pass. It also helped the French to patrol the surrounding mountains. Just four years later a small town was founded near this original fortress. The town was called Nouvelle Lambese, but it was renamed Batna only a year later.
Today the city serves as the market center for this agricultural region. Its economy thrives on its agricultural and forest-based products. Batna has seen quite a lot of expansion in more recent years, but this has started to taper off somewhat and now the vibrant theatrical life of the city is starting to return. The city has numerous cinemas and a cultural center - all great places to admire the hard work of the many talented young artists who perform here. When you are not enjoying the shows, a walk around this pretty French-styled city will reveal rectangular streets and tree-lined avenues.
If you visit Batna, Algeria, make sure that you visit the nearby ruins of Timgad and Lambaesis. Both were ancient Roman cities and learning their stories will really captivate the imagination. The presence of these cities shows just how far-reaching the effects of Roman rule really were. Timgad, which was built around the 1st century, had an important role in the control of commerce in those early times. Despite some vandalism both ruins are quite fascinating and a treat for the eyes.