Algeria: In Search of Lost Cities
As you gaze upon the endless expanse of sand and palms, you have to wonder how much of Algeria is still lost beneath your feet — hidden from view until Mother Nature or fate reveals its secrets for all to see. Algeria claims many famous and well-intact ruins from its Roman colonial past and even earlier. One of the most unforgettable are those around Tipasa. The remains of grand structures are quite a sight to see; especially when the sun is setting over the Mediterranean Sea and the ruins are but only a silhouette against the colored sky.
Tipasa was originally a Phoenician trading post, but it became a Roman colony in the 2nd century A.D. – becoming one of the most important Christian settlements in Northern Africa. However, after the fall of the Roman Empire the colony was reduced to a shell of its former self. In fact, by the time the Arab Moors arrived in the 7th century, there was so little left they called the place “Tefassad“, meaning “badly damaged”. What remains today, however, is well-preserved, particularly the forum and the mausoleum. The small museum on site boasts mosaics and other relics collected from the colony.
North of the Hoggar Mountains, is another famous archaeological landscape worthy of visiting — the Tassili N. Ajjer, characterized by deep riffs in the rocky landscape and dramatic cliffs, and is noted for its rock paintings that are over 8,000 years old. You can only enter this area with a special permit and official guide.
The ancient cities of North Africa offer some of the most dramatic and well-preserved ruins the world over. Travelers to Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria will find the remains of Greek cities that would not look be out of place in Greece itself, as well as some of the most splendid Roman sites found anywhere in the Mediterranean. Discover the Roman city of Leptis Magna, renowned for its scale and vast collection of buildings and temples. The Phoenician city of Carthage, founded in the 9th century B.C. The site contains Phoenician remains including Tophet, the sanctuary of the gods Tanit and Baal, and other imposing monuments from the Roman period. Also tour the Bardo Museum, renowned for its spectacular collection of Roman mosaics. Continue to Hippo Regius, once home to St. Augustine; and the dramatic ruins of Djemila, featuring some of the Mediterranean’s best preserved Roman remains.