Ancient Rock Art at the Bardo Museum

The Bardo Museum in Algiers reopened its doors to the public in 2013 after undergoing extensive restoration work, which took place in line with ancient building and craft techniques. Previously the residence of an 18th century Tunisian prince, the Bardo Museum consists of a series of whitewashed buildings on different levels, with simple yet bold architecture, interspersed with mosaic courtyards, gardens and trees. In the restoration of the museum, great care was taken to preserve the original architecture and decorations, even down to the beautifully finished wooden doors and intricately designed door handles and other accessories. Visitors should be sure to take note of the great attention to detail in the mosaic and tile decorations on the walls and floors, as well as the colorful designs on the ceilings of the interior.

The museum was established in 1930 and the collection has grown over the years to include a number of different sections. These include an area dedicated to Islamic Arts featuring pottery, jewelry, decorative containers in wood and brass, sacred texts and other interesting items.

In the section focusing on the Ethnography and Prehistory of the area visitors will find a fascinating collection of ancient fossils, pottery, leatherwork, jewelry, furniture, clothing, weaponry and copper kettles. There is also a collection of rock paintings and rock carvings which were discovered in the spectacular Tassili n’Ajjer region.

Bordering on Libya and Niger, Tassili n’Ajjer is a large plateau in southeastern Algeria which is noted for its archeological sites which show evidence of a time when the climate in the area was savannah-like, rather than being the desert it is now. With more than 15,000 engravings having been identified since first being discovered in 1933, the rock art shows herds of cattle, crocodiles and other large animals, as well as humans engaging in dancing and hunting. Some superb examples of this art can be viewed at Bardo Museum in Algiers. Certainly, this museum is worth adding to your itinerary when visiting the capital city of Algeria.