Among the Sands of Time – Algeria’s Renowned Art Museum

One of the finest art museums in North Africa also happens to be in close proximity to Algiers. A visit to the Bardo Ethnographic and Local Art Museum is a worthy addition to any traveler’s itinerary.

The Bardo is not only a museum per se, but an architectural landmark as well. Originally built in the 13th century and serving as a palace, the building has been refurbished, restored and expanded over the course of several hundred years to become a stunning example of all that is right in the world of Arab-Moslem architecture circa the 17th and 18th centuries.

Priceless artifacts from all parts of the Tunisian territory are on display, corresponding to the most important eras in the country’s history and culture: Prehistoric, Carthaginian, Roman, Christian and Islamic.

In the Huessin Palace sits the Islamic Art collection – a precious mix of medieval Islamic pottery and jewelry as well as beautiful illuminated pages from sacred texts. Islamic artwork in the 16th through the 19th century’s focused heavily on finely crafted decorative arts, and visitors will enjoy a variety of finely wrought arabesques and intricate geometric patterns that characterize these techniques in wood, stucco and brass.

Any museum true to its origins will serve as a stimulus to visitors, whether they are native to the country or not. The Bardo answers many questions, but hopefully inspires the weary traveler to ask many more regarding this mysterious land that continues to unearth its treasures for the world to see.