Basilica of Saint Augustine
The city of Annaba was once known as the Hippo Regius. At that time a very influential Bishop lived in a basilica located on a hilltop. The structure was named the Basilica of Saint Augustine, but is also referred to as the Lela Bouna or Church of Saint Augustine of Hippo. Saint Augustine was born on 13 November 354 A.D. and became a theologian, philosopher and bishop in the region. It is said that Saint Augustine’s writings were vital in Western Christianity’s development and growth. He passed away on 28 August 430 A.D., and tribute is still paid to Saint Augustine today.
The Basilica of Peace, which was constructed approximately one thousand six hundred years ago and that was home to Saint Augustine, is today in ruin. The magnificent Basilica of Saint Augustine, which is a popular attraction in Annaba, was constructed in 1881. The ruins of Hippo Regius can still be viewed and is located behind the basilica. The stone used to construct the Basilica of Saint Augustine was imported all the way from France, and the respected architect Abbe Pougnet oversaw the building of the church. Its architecture shows influences of Roman, Byzantine and Arab styles. In anticipation of the construction of the building as it stands today, the bones of Saint Augustine’s elbow were sent to Annaba in 1842, and were interred in the funeral statue of Saint Augustine, which can be viewed at the Basilica of Saint Augustine. The Little Sisters of the Poor, a home for the aged, is also located behind the Basilica of Saint Augustine. In 2004 financial grants allowed repairs to be done to the Basilica, restoring the historical building to its former glory.
This dominating structure sees approximately fifteen thousand visitors come through its doors each year. The extensive library within the building is run by a local woman who donates her time to the Basilica of Saint Augustine. Visitors to the basilica will be able to marvel at the Carrara marble, breathtaking stained glass and massive arches that complete the building and render it unforgettable. When touring through Annaba, visitors are advised to explore this magnificent building, as taxis and buses regularly run a route to the basilica due to its popularity.