Algeria: Archeological Finds Reveal a Varied Past

A mix of cultures contributes to Algeria’s ancient past – in particular the Romans! For lovers of archeology and even those with a casual curiosity for poking around old ruins, Algeria offers many locations that will satisfy the need to wander and explore wonder about Algeria’s mythic past.

Of area in particular, the Kubr-er-Rumia – is also known by its French name, Tombeau de la Chrtienne. It rests near Kolea and is the burial-place of the beautiful daughter of Count Julian. Also thought to be the tomb of the Mauretanian king Juba II and of his wife Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, queen of Egypt! The tomb is built on a hill 756 feet above sea level, and is represented by a circular stone building surmounted by a 209 foot (at its base) pyramid. The monument – 130 feet in height – has been a victim of time, the elements and pillage. It is still an imposing sight none the less.

The tops of 60 Ionic columns have been removed, but their design is forever captured among the drawings of historic African traveler James Bruce. In the centre of the tomb are two vaulted chambers, reached by a spiral passage nearly seven feet in height and 489 feet in length. The burial chambers are separated by a short passage, and are cut off from the gallery by stone doors made of a single slab which can be moved up and down by levers.

The larger of the two chambers is 142 ft. long by 11 ft. broad and 11 ft. high. The other chamber is somewhat smaller. The tomb was pillaged early on and in 1555; Salah Rais, the Pasha of Algiers, ordered his men destroy the tomb, but the records say that the attempt was abandoned. At the end of the 18th century Baba Mahommed tried in vain to batter down the tomb with artillery but to no avail. Finally, in 1866 it was explored by order of the Emperor Napoleon III, after which the site was ordered to be protected and preserved.

That it remains in the condition that it does after all these years is a testament to good luck, an Egyptian curse or perhaps both!

Travelers to Algeria can visit this site and many other archeological wonders during their stay in this beautiful country. Guided tours in Algeria are recommended. And rememeber to visit Morocco when in Northern Africa!