Constantine’s Eighth Wonder Nears Completion
Hailed as the eighth wonder of the city of Constantine, and referred to locally as the Bridge of Independence, the new 1.2 kilometer Trans-Rhumel viaduct will be the eighth bridge to connect the city to the outside world when it is completed in March 2014. The magnificent cable-stayed bridge will have two lanes for traffic and will be supported by two pillars measuring 130 meters in height, suspended at 80 meters above sea level. Taking into account that Constantine has experienced earthquakes in the past and the bridge will be subject to strong winds, the technical specifications for the project were very precise and stringent, meeting both local requirements and Eurocode standards.
Viewed as the capital of eastern Algeria, and the third largest city in Algeria – Algiers and Oran being the first and second largest respectively – Constantine has an interesting and ancient history, with the succession of ruling powers leaving their mark in the fascinating architecture of the city. The elevated position of the city made it particularly attractive to the ruling powers in the past that used this as a defensive tactic against invading forces. Originally known as Cirta, the city was renamed Constantine in the 4th century in honor of the Roman emperor and the name remained, as did the fortified walls of the old city and other features of Roman architecture.
While Constantine is awash with history and culture, it is often overlooked by travelers visiting Algeria. This may very well change as Constantine carries the title of Arab Capital of Culture in 2015. Algerian authorities have committed to investing in infrastructure, festivals and other events, in anticipation of an increase in visitors to the city. The Arab Capital of Culture is an initiative by the League of Arab States (more commonly referred to as the Arab League) as part of the UNESCO Cultural Capitals Program for the celebration and promotion of Arab culture. The first Arab Capital of Culture was Cairo in 1996, with a different city being chosen each year. Algiers was the 2007 Arab Capital of Culture and in 2015 it will be Constantine’s turn to introduce its unique and rich culture to the world.