Cherchell Museum, Cherchell, Museums, Algeria

Located in the center of the seaport town of Cherchell in Algeria's Tipaza Province, the Cherchell Museum houses what are widely considered to be the some of the best examples of Roman and Greek antiquities on the African continent. Cherchell was established by the Carthaginians in the 4th century BC and was captured by the Romans in 25 BC who made it into the capital of the Mauritania province, naming it Caesarea in honor of Caesar Augustus. The town was ruined by the Vandals in the first century CE and later restored to its former grandeur by the Byzantines. A series of conquests by various invaders saw Cherchell change hands a number of times before becoming a French territory in 1840. Many artifacts from these various periods of Cherchell's history have been uncovered by archaeologists, a large number of which are on display in the Cherchell Museum. Exhibits include works by Byzantine silversmiths, such as ornately decorated patera (vessels used for drinking), as well as intricately designed mosaics.

It was during the Roman reign over Mauritania in 25 BC, under the leadership of Juba II, that a theater, library and other buildings were established in Cherchell (Caesarea). Juba II also gathered an impressive collection of artworks, particularly marble sculptures, some of which have landed up in museums in other parts of the world, but excellent examples are to be found in Cherchell Museum, along with a sculpture of the head of his wife, Cleopatra Selene. Partial ruins of the Roman theater, Roman baths, and Civile Basilica are found on the outskirts of Cherchell. There is no doubt that visitors will gain insight into the fascinating, tumultuous and colorful history of this charming Algerian seaside town by visiting the Cherchell Museum.

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